Authorities arrest Chicopee man suspected of being ‘Route 91 bandit’

Authorities arrest Chicopee man suspected of being ‘Route 91 bandit’
Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 12:43 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 1, 2022 at 4:16 PM EST
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CHICOPEE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) –The FBI has caught a bank robbery suspect they’ve been searching for, for over a year. He’s accused of robbing more than a dozen banks along I-91.

Investigators said the suspect, originally dubbed “The Route 91 Bandit,” hit 14 banks along I-91 spanning four states and attempted to rob one.

Western Mass News cameras were rolling Thursday morning as men and women in FBI jackets and hazmat suits searched a house on Campbell Place in Chicopee.

The FBI confirmed to Western Mass News they arrested 30-year-old Taylor Dziczek of Chicopee, who they believe to be the Route 91 Bandit.

The FBI said they believe he’s responsible for 14 bank robberies, totaling more than $137-thousand and spanning from early September 2021 to August 2022 in Connecticut, western Mass., Vermont and New Hampshire, including Arrha Credit Union in West Springfield on September 9, 2021, Greenfield Cooperative Bank in Turners Falls on December 16, 2021, and Franklin First Credit Union in Greenfield on January 21, 2022.

Dashboard cameras from a police vehicle near Greenfield Cooperative Bank captured images of a Gray Nissan Versa without license plates.

Thursday, our cameras captured what appears to be a Gray Nissan being towed away from the Campbell Street House.

President and CEO of Franklin First Credit Union in Greenfield, Michelle Dwyer said it is very welcome news that the 91 Bandit has been caught. she says in part

“This has been a consistent topic of conversation with our staff and with our members over the last year since we were robbed back in January…knowing that there had not been a known suspect for those series of robberies has had us a bit more on edge than usual.  We would like to thank law enforcement for being diligent and tenacious with their investigation.  I know those that were affected by the robberies are breathing a little easier tonight.”

FBI officials told Western Mass News Dziczek was arraigned Thursday in Hartford and was ordered to be detained.

According to court documents obtained by Western Mass News, the suspect often wore clothing and masks that covered his face, arms, legs, and back of his right hand from view. They said he was armed on multiple occasions and also often demanded the money by showing the teller a note.

On May 26 of this year, Dziczek allegedly robbed the Peoples United Bank in Plainville, Conn. There, he gave the teller a note saying things like “I have a gun. Don’t call 911. Don’t set off any alarms.” Officials said Dziczek removed three GPS trackers from the money and discarded those wrappers at the bank, which were then collected by the Plainville Police Department.

In late October FBI special agents said they surveilled Dziczek while he was at the MGM Casino in Springfield and retrieved an energy drink can with a straw that the suspect was drinking from. They said laboratory analysis connected the DNA found on the straw to DNA found on the money wrappers from the Plainville bank robbery.

Western Mass News has also learned that Dziczek was convicted in 2017 of unarmed robbery of the Easthampton savings bank in South Hadley in 2015.

A bank robbery charge carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years. FBI officials said this investigation is ongoing. When Western Mass News first reported this story back in February, we told you the Boston division of the FBI was offering up a $10-thousand reward to anyone who was able to help them find this suspect.

FBI officials told Western Mass News that despite the dozens of tips they received, investigators ultimately identified Dziczek, so no reward will be given out.