MERRIMACK, NH -- A Newport man who was arrested for robbing Bank of America wearing a mask depicting President Barack Obama was arraigned Wednesday afternoon and ordered held on $75,000 cash bail.
John Robert Griffin Jr., 52, of 186 S. Main St., Newport, N.H., was arrested Wednesday morning shortly after he allegedly robbed the Bank of America at 356 Daniel Webster Highway dressed in an Obama mask, suit jacket, tie and jeans.
Because of the witness descriptions of the man and a provided direction of travel, Lt. Paul Trepaney was able to spot the suspect coming out from behind a business on Columbia Circle just north of the bank, within about 15 minutes of the robbery.
Police say Griffin initially had left the bank with an undisclosed amount of cash.
Lt. Denise Roy said he never brandished a gun in the bank, but Merrimack Police Prosecutor Melissa Kowalewski said during Griffin's arraignment that when he was taken into custody, he was found to be in possession of a semi-automatic pistol and ammunition.
Kowalewski recommended Griffin be held on $75,000 cash or surety bail during the arraignment, saying that though Griffin doesn't have a criminal history, he poses a danger to the community as he had "no qualms" walking into a bank with a gun on him during the middle of the morning and robbing it, putting the teller in imminent fear of her safety.
Griffin, who spoke briefly at the arraignment, claimed he wasn't armed when he entered the bank.