Laviolette previously arrested for 2010 robbery
By Shaun Moriarty
Citizen Chronicle Writer
BRIMFIELD — At least eight different police agencies took part in the pursuit, search, and apprehension of a suspect following a bank robbery in West Brookfield.
Police said Gary A. Laviolette, 32, entered the North Brookfield Savings Bank on Route 9 in West Brookfield at approximately 2:20 p.m. on Monday, demanding cash. In a press release, the West Brookfield Police Department said Laviolette threatened that he had a weapon, but none was shown. The suspect was able to leave the bank with an undisclosed amount of cash, but not without “quick thinking” bank employees getting an accurate description of the vehicle and license plate of the getaway vehicle, police said. The vehicle Laviolette fled the scene in was stolen, police affirmed.
After police were alerted to the bank robbery, several local departments and the Massachusetts State Police began searching for the suspect.
Brimfield Police Officer Daniel Fagan spotted the vehicle in that community, resulting in a pursuit. Police said the vehicle operated by the suspect crashed on Dix Hill Road, about eight miles south of the savings bank. Laviolette left the vehicle and fled on foot into the Brimfield woods as authorities established a perimeter. The State Police K-9 team was deployed to aid in the search for the suspect, leading to Laviolette’s apprehension around 4:45 p.m. Trooper Thomas Eliason and his K-9 partner, Viktor, located the suspect and apprehended him in the woods south of Tower Hill Road in Brimfield, police said.
Laviolette was taken to Harrington Memorial Hospital in Southbridge for treatment of minor injuries before being transported to the State Police barracks in Brookfield to be booked and held, police said. Laviolette is charged with armed robbery, larceny, possession of a stolen motor vehicle, and other charges, according to the West Brookfield Police Department. The money stolen from the North Brookfield Savings Bank was recovered, authorities said.
During the pursuit and search for the suspect, authorities urged residents to lock their doors and call 911 in the event of seeing an individual matching the suspect’s description. At that time, police described the suspect as a light skinned man with short-to-bald hair, and wearing dark clothing. In addition to the State Police, Brimfield and West Brookfield departments, officers from police departments in Brookfield, Holland, Monson, North Brookfield, Sturbridge, and Warren responded to assist in the pursuit, search, or apprehension of Laviolette. At the time of the arrest, the Brimfield Police Department took to their Facebook page to applaud the efforts of cooperating agencies, specifically the work of Trooper Eliason and Viktor, in the capture of the suspect, but also Officer Fagan, Trooper Amy Waterman, Brimfield Police Officer Olszta, and Sturbridge Police Officer Thomas Giordano.
The arrest is not the first for Laviolette, who was taken into custody in February 2010 after an armed robbery of Country Bank on North Main Street in Palmer. In that instance, Laviolette gave a bank teller a note claiming to have a gun, and received the cash he demanded along with a dye pack.