By Christine Chung
A Massachusetts man sought in connection with more than a dozen bank robberies was arrested Thursday after authorities linked DNA found at a robbery in May to a straw he used to sip a Red Bull energy drink at a casino five months later, prosecutors said.
Federal prosecutors said the man, Taylor Dziczek, 30, of Chicopee, presented a People’s United Bank teller in Plainville, Connecticut, on May 26 with a note with words to the effect of “I have a gun. Don’t call 911. Don’t set off any alarms.”
He then showed the teller what appeared to be a black firearm, although the gun may have been fake, according to court documents.
“Don’t be a hero,” he told the teller, according to prosecutors.
Plainville police officers collected paper money wrappers that were discarded at the scene and they subsequently underwent a DNA analysis, according to court records.
Five months later, on Oct. 21, Dziczek was at the MGM casino in Springfield, Massachusetts, where he was drinking a Red Bull energy drink out of a black straw. Multiple agents from the FBI were surveilling him, court records said, and one of them collected the discarded Red Bull can and straw as evidence. It was not clear what led the agents to surveil him in the first place.
A laboratory analysis of DNA left on the straw was connected to DNA found on discarded money wrappers at the Plainville robbery, prosecutors said. Dziczek was charged in that robbery Thursday.
If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison, prosecutors said. Charles Willson, Dziczek’s lawyer, could not be immediately reached for comment Sunday.
Dziczek is being investigated in connection with 14 robberies and one attempted robbery of banks and credit unions in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont between September 2021 and August, court records show. They state that a total of about $137,000 was stolen.
In each of the robberies, the suspect wore similar clothing and exhibited a unique tendency to obscure his right hand, according to court records. Photos in the criminal complaint show that Dziczek has tattoos on his right arm and hand.
In 2017, Dziczek was convicted of a 2015 unarmed robbery of the Easthampton Savings Bank in Hadley, Massachusetts, according to court documents. The disposition of that case was not immediately available.
This article originally appeared here.