By DANIEL KITTREDGE A suspect in two Cranston bank robberies was taken into custody Oct. 1, according to Chief of Police Col. Michael Winquist, and information gleaned from both a doorbell security camera and the city's new license plate reading camera
A suspect in two Cranston bank robberies was taken into custody Oct. 1, according to Chief of Police Col. Michael Winquist, and information gleaned from both a doorbell security camera and the city’s new license plate reading camera system is being credited with leading to the arrest.
Edward Diamante, 34, of 65 Arnold St., Woonsocket, faces two counts of second-degree robbery and a charge of reckless driving/eluding police, second offense, the chief said.
Diamante was arrested in Johnston following a pursuit that went through portions of Warwick, Cranston and Providence, the chief said. Rhode Island State Police and Johnston Police were among the agencies that assisted Cranston. Diamante was also taken into custody on an active Superior Court bench warrant and an arrest warrant issued from Woonsocket Police.
The first of the two robberies in which Diamante is charged occurred at approximately 10:42 a.m. on Sept. 30 at the Citizens Bank branch at 965 Oaklawn Ave., according to a press release from police. In that incident, a man was said to have entered the bank, demanded cash and left on foot in the direction of the bike path with an undisclosed amount of money. No weapon was shown and no one was injured.
Police subsequently shared security camera images of the suspect via news outlets and social media.
“We had a good description” of the suspect, Winquist said, but did not immediately have the man’s identity. The public’s help was sought in locating the suspect, and part of the description circulated by police highlighted what the chief called the man’s “very distinctive tattoo” – a “chest tattoo of what appear to be rosary beads near his neckline.”
It was cameras, however, that Winquist said provided the biggest boost in the case.
Shortly before 9:30 a.m. on Oct. 1, another bank robbery was reported to police, this time at the Santander branch on Atwood Avenue.
“It was the same MO,” Winquist said. “He walked in, demanded money, and he was able to get away with some cash.”
Detectives canvassed the area after the heist, the chief said, and were able to find a doorbell camera that had captured footage of the suspect entering a vehicle. A license plate number was obtained, and that information was added to the Flock Safety license plate reading camera system recently installed at more than two-dozen locations around Cranston.
At around 1 p.m. on Oct 1., Winquist said, the Flock system detected the vehicle in question – described as a black Lexus – traveling through the city. It was tracked to Route 10 south and then to the area of Jefferson Boulevard on Interstate 95, where a detective working on a construction detail spotted the vehicle.
Winquist said the detective pursued the vehicle, but it did not stop. The vehicle made its way to Providence, then headed toward Johnston via Interstate 295 and Route 6, where it struck a guardrail but continued on.
The vehicle then traveled onto Reservoir Road in Johnston, where it was disabled after driving over a speed hump at a high rate of speed. The suspect attempted to flee on foot with a trash bag, duffel bag and “large amount of cash,” the chief said, but was taken into custody.
Winquist said the man taken into custody closely matched the images and description circulated after the Citizens robbery on Sept. 30, including his clothing and distinctive tattoo.
“We’re confident that we have the right person,” he said.
Winquist said the suspect’s vehicle had been towed to police headquarters on Garfield Avenue and a warrant to search it was being obtained.
He also said the Flock system had detected both that vehicle and another associated with the suspect in the area of multiple Cranston banks – including the two that were robbed – on both Sept. 30 and Oct. 1.
“This is just another example of the Flock camera system assisting us with making a swift apprehension of a person who was intent on committing multiple crimes in our city,” he said.