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DPW workers, citizens help police nab ex-con, accomplice in Fairview bank robbery


YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: With the help of two DPW workers and several good Samaritans, police tracked down two men — one a career criminal who once escaped from the Hudson County Jail — who they said robbed a Fairview bank of several thousand dollars this morning.

Gary Bohanan, a former North Bergen resident who police said lives in Keansburg, carjacked a van at gunpoint in North Bergen after the holdup but barely made it down Third Avenue before crashing it into a porch at 91st Street, township Police Capt. Patrick Irwin told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .

Police seized what turned out to be an air gun and several thousand dollars in cash – some of which was covered in dye from an exploding pack, Irwin said. Much of it was strewn along Kennedy Boulevard in North Bergen and returned by citizens who scooped it up, he said.

Bohanan (originally misidentified by authorities as “Bohannon”) escaped from the Hudson County Jail in May 1998 before being captured a month later after robbing a bank in Westchester. He’s spent several years in prison for holdups of banks, check-cashing outlets and a Taco Bell the past 20 years, records show. Last November, he was paroled after serving more than 11 years for convictions that included armed robbery.

The other suspect, 20-year-old Angel Feliu-Alberto, was tracked down in Hoboken Cemetery between 58th Street and Meadowview Avenue and Tonnelle Avenue by North Bergen Police Officers Daniel Brown and Ramon DeJesus.

Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino’s Bureau of Criminal Identification processed other evidence, including the suspects’ clothing, which was found after the 9:44 a.m. holdup of the TD Bank on Fairview Avenue.

Fairview Police Chief Frank DelVecchio and North Bergen Police Chief Robert Dowd issued a joint release in which they said that Feliu-Alberto held people inside the bank at knifepoint while Bohanan, 44, jumped the counter and collected the cash.

Two DPW workers walked in as the two fled, then began chasing them when those inside shouted that the bank had been robbed, a law enforcement officer with direct knowledge of the incident told CLIFFVIEW PILOT late this afternoon.

The pair ran east on Fairview Avenue, then cut down dead-ended Lincoln Street, with the DPW workers chasing them. They then dashed through an alleyway next to the Dumbbells Health & Fitness, emerging on Kennedy Boulevard, the source said.

A construction worker, seeing what was happening, tried chasing down Bohanan with his van.

But Bohanan pointed the gun at him and tried taking the vehicle — only he couldn’t get it into the right gear, the chiefs said in their statement. After it smashed a porch, he took off, dropping the weapon and cash.

Fairview Patrolman Flavio Mattessich and a trio of North Bergen officers — Lt. Timothy Faranda, Sgt. Alex Guzman and Detective Michael Derin — found Bohanan hiding under a truck in an alley at 8607 First Street, Irwin said.

Feliu-Alberto, meanwhile, fled in a silver Nissan Altima and was followed by another civilian to 58th Street, where he abandoned the car and ran into the cemetery next to the Meadowview Village public housing complex, Irwin said.

Authorities were trying to determine how Feliu-Alberto got the car, raising the possibility that at least one other person was involved in the holdup, a law enforcement source with direct knowledge of the investigation told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .

North Bergen police charged Bohanan with carjacking, aggravated assault with a firearm, unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, felons not to possess weapons, three counts of aggravated assault on a police officer, resisting arrest, criminal mischief, receiving stolen property and eluding, according to the chiefs. He was being held on $685,000 bail in the Hudson County Jail.

Feliu-Albertor was charged with eluding, receiving stolen property and burglary, they said. His bail was $575,000.

Both face additional weapons charges, as well as bank robbery, theft, aggravated assault, and terroristic threats, authorities said. Although the FBI initially became involved, the case will be handled by Hudson and Bergen County prosecutors, they said.

Dowd and DelVecchio praised the citizens involved in chasing the suspects and collecting the stolen cash.

“Without the coordination and cooperation from each agency — and especially the civilian witnesses and victims — the defendants would not have been captured as quickly,” they said.

Bohanan’s prison record (Courtesy NJ DEPT OF CORRECTIONS):

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