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Bank robbery suspect calls himself the 'polite bandit'

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Robert Raymond Robert Raymond
HAMDEN, CT (WFSB) -

A 67-year-old man dubbed himself "polite bandit" in a note to tellers before police said he robbed two banks in Hamden and claimed to be in possession of a bomb.

Neighbors told Eyewitness News that Robert Raymond, of Hamden, was the nicest man, but Tuesday police said he caused quite a scare at two banks after telling everyone he had a bomb.

But there's more.

According to police he even planted a fake bomb in downtown New Haven and forced officers to evacuate a motel in Branford as they searched for explosives there.

Police said Raymond held up the Webster Bank on Helen Street in Hamden along with the First Niagara Bank down the road on Dixwell Avenue.

Each time, police said, he claimed to have a bomb in a note that he handed to the tellers.

"Please don't be alarmed. This is a bank robbery. The bag contains a bomb controlled by a cell phone in my left pants pocket," the note stated, according to court documents. "Please don't activate any alarms. Please give me all the money you can. Thank you for your cooperation, the polite bandit."

Miguel Santos said he was working inside the Webster Bank when police grabbed Raymond as he was trying to escape.

Raymond didn't have a bomb on him and the only thing that actually exploded was the dye pack tellers placed inside a bag of money that they handed over.

As police investigated, they said they learned Raymond planted a fake bomb near the Federal Courthouse on Orange Street.

The street was closed and officials detonated the package.

While that occurred, a third team of officers, including FBI and Connecticut State Police, responded to the Americas Best Value Inn on East Main Street in Branford after Raymond's car was spotted there.

Investigators searched for bomb making material and explosives there, but the search turned up empty. Police said Raymond had been living or visiting his girlfriend at the motel.

Neighbors said Raymond just loved gardening as well as taking care of his yard and they were caught off guard by his arrest.

"I hope they figure out what happened because he's a really sweet guy and it's totally out of character, completely out of character," said neighbor Anna Crofts.

Police told Eyewitness News they searched his home on Augur Street as well, and they did not find any explosives or anything else of concern.

"It's a shock," said neighbor Isabella Fiorentine. "No one expected this older gentlemen would do something like that."

Neighbors told Eyewitness News Raymond used to live at the Hamden home with a long time girlfriend, but she died.

Raymond started dating someone new and according to court records, he told police he was duped out of some money by his new girlfriend.

Raymond was charged with two counts of robbery and larceny along with breach of peace.

Raymond was arraigned at Meriden Superior Court on Wednesday where the judge was concerned about him making threats with bombs considering it was so soon after the Boston Marathon.

The judge ordered that Raymond undergo a mental health evaluation and be placed on suicide watch.

After his court appearance, Raymond was held on $300,000 bond.

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