A Chelsea man, dubbed the “Spelling Bee Bandit,” was sentenced on Wednesday, March 7 in federal court in Boston for four bank robberies.
Jason S. Englen, 34, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns to 84 months in prison and three years of supervised release. In November 2017, Englen pleaded guilty to four counts of bank robbery.
On Oct. 31, 2016, a man, later identified as Englen, entered a branch of TD Bank in Arlington, approached a teller and presented a note written on a deposit slip indicating a robbery and demanding cash. On the note, the word “robbery” was misspelled. The teller handed Englen money from the drawer and Englen fled the bank leaving the demand note behind.
Over the next few weeks, three additional banks were robbed in the same fashion: a branch of TD Bank in Reading on November 5, a branch of Salem Five in Burlington on November 7, and a branch of TD Bank in Peabody on November 13. Based on the similarity of the robberies and the physical description of the robber, law enforcement, seeking help from the public, identified Englen, who was already in state custody on unrelated charges, as the bank robber. On Dec. 12, 2016, Englen was arrested by federal authorities and charged.
United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; Suffolk County Sheriff Steven Tompkins; Arlington Police Chief Frederick Ryan; Reading Police Chief Mark D. Segalla; Burlington Police Chief Michael Kent; and Peabody Police Chief Thomas Griffin made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth G. Shine of Lelling’s Major Crimes Unit prosecuted the case.