Peabody bank robbery suspect arrested in Boston after fleeing in taxi

BOSTON (WHDH) - Massachusetts State Police say they arrested a suspect in a Peabody bank robbery after stopping a taxi on the Route 93 expressway.

Investigators say they stopped the taxi near Melnea Cass Boulevard.

The suspect, Leo Willwerth, 31 of East Boston, is accused of robbing a Bank of America in Peabody before leaving the scene and heading to the North Shore Mall, then leaving in a taxi with a woman.

Police responded to the scene at around 2:15 p.m. for a report of a bank robbery on Andover Street.

According to Peabody Police, the suspect made reference to a bomb before demanding cash. Officials say it is not known if the suspect had a bomb.

The suspect then entered a taxi with a woman. That taxi was tracked by state police and the Mass State Police Air Wing as well as a GPS unit in the cab.

The two passengers in the car were taken into custody after the taxi was located and stopped. Peabody police say it is unclear what the woman’s role was in the incident.

A dispatcher at Tri-City Taxi helped track the cab for local authorities.

” I had a Peabody police officer standing in front of me, I had a state police officer on the phone, meanwhile I’m watching my guy on the GPS system,” he said.

The dispatcher was able to monitor the cab’s location and pass the information to state police.

“It was crazy…it was crazy because I was really scared for my guy,” he said.

The cab driver was not injured.

The FBI has been notified as the investigation continues. Police say the woman has not been charged.

The incident is being investigated by the state police bank robbery task force.

This is a developing story; stay with 7News on air and online for more information as it becomes available.

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