Cops let their fingers do the walking

A Lowell, Massachusetts man is under arrest, suspected in a string of robberies in northern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire. His plan was simple: he’d limp into the bank with a bulky bag he said contained a bomb, demand money, and leave.

He got caught, however, after he made a couple of mistakes.

For one, he left his “bomb” behind at one robbery.

For another, the “bomb” contained a phone book with an address sticker still on it.

A sticker with his name and address on it.

Police originally went to Mr. George Melendez’ home seeking information on the limping bank robber. But when they found out that he had recently had foot surgery, they were pretty sure they had their guy.

(A bit of an excerpt is posted below, as the stories on that site tend to expire around noonish each day)

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A bank robber who walked with a limp and left behind bags he claimed contained bombs unwittingly left something else at one of the three local banks he held up in two weeks, police say.

A phone book with a mailing label giving his full name and address.

George Melendez, 564 Market St., Lowell, forgot to remove the sticker on his Lowell-area Verizon phone book before stuffing it in the fake bomb bag he used to rob a Lawrence bank last Friday, police said.

He was arrested yesterday at his home.

Police originally went there thinking the man whose name was on the phone book might have some information that could lead them to the bank robber.

Then they were told by a neighbor that Melendez had recently had foot surgery.

“It was so easy, so simple, it was hard to believe,” said police Chief John J. Romero after the arrest. “We were hoping just to talk to the person whose book was taken, but it was our guy’s address. Unbelievable.”

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