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Arrests Made in Robbery of Mascoma Bank in White River Junction

  • Vermont State Police block the entrance to the Mascoma Bank after an armed robbery at the branch on Maple Street in White River Junction, Vt., on Jan. 7, 2019. (Valley News - Joseph Ressler) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Stephen Lynch (Hartford Police photograph)



Valley News Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 08, 2019

White River Junction — A 28-year-old former Windsor resident is facing charges in Vermont and Massachusetts after police alleged he robbed the Mascoma Bank branch off Maple Street in White River Junction on Monday and headed to southern New England with three other Upper Valley residents to buy drugs.

After a “be on the lookout” alert from Vermont authorities targeting the getaway car, a Massachusetts State Police trooper arrested Stephen Lynch during a traffic stop on Interstate 91 in Bernardston, Mass., about an hour and a half after the robbery, according to reports.

Police also arrested the driver, Katelyn Grizzaffi, 23, of Lebanon, and detained the two passengers, Andrea Gilbert, 29, and Corey Riendeau, 26, of Wilder.

Both Lynch and Grizzaffi were arraigned on charges in a Massachusetts courtroom on Tuesday, and a judge set Lynch’s bail at $50,000 cash and Grizzaffi’s at $750 cash. They both entered not guilty pleas to a charge of receiving stolen property, and Lynch also pleaded not guilty to being a fugitive from justice, according to Mary Carey, a spokeswoman with the Northwestern (Mass.) District Attorney’s Office.

It was unclear on Tuesday night whether either remained housed at the Franklin County Jail in Greenfield, Mass.

The receiving stolen property counts allege that Lynch and Grizzaffi had on them $1,700 and $1,020, respectively, at the time of their arrest, money that Lynch is suspected of robbing from the bank around 2:15 p.m. on Monday, according to police.

The Windsor County State’s Attorney’s Office has issued an arrest warrant for Lynch on one count of larceny from a person in connection with the robbery, which sent area schools into “temporary lockout” mode. More charges against Lynch are anticipated, Assistant Windsor County Attorney Ward Goodenough said on Tuesday.

Grizzaffi isn’t facing charges in Vermont, and Goodenough declined to comment on whether she would.

The alleged criminal activity started earlier on Monday when Lynch texted Grizzaffi and asked her to pick up him and his girlfriend, Gilbert, in South Royalton and drive them to Connecticut, a request she complied with, according to Grizzaffi’s statement to police, which is contained in a Hartford Police Department affidavit written by Officer Scott Moody.

Grizzaffi told police that she knew Lynch was planning to rob a bank and that she drove him and the others to White River Junction, where Lynch selected a bank at random, the affidavit says.

She parked on a side street and Lynch entered the Maple Street bank and slipped a teller a note that said: “I have a gun. Listen & will be fine. Need $5,000/normal bills. No dye packs. Please keep hands where I can see them,” according to the affidavit.

Lynch didn’t have a gun in his possession at the time, although he told the teller he did, according to police.

The teller handed him $5,000 in cash and he ran back to Grizzaffi’s vehicle. Lynch handed her about $1,000, and he tried to give money to Riendeau, who declined it, Grizzaffi told police, according to the affidavit.

The group made a stop in White River Junction so Lynch could pay a $1,500 drug debt and order methamphetamine before heading south on Interstate 91 with plans to go to Connecticut to use the money to purchase heroin, Lynch told police, according to Moody’s affidavit. Not long after they left Vermont, a state trooper in Massachusetts stopped their car around 3:45 p.m. in Bernardston, which is about 12 miles south of Brattleboro, Vt.

As Hartford police responded to the bank robbery, they had been notified by Lebanon police that an informant had just told them that Lynch, who sometimes is known as “Joker,” planned to rob a bank using the car, a 2007 Subaru Impreza with New Hampshire license plates, the affidavit says.

Troopers searched the vehicle and its occupants and arrested Lynch and Grizzaffi, who both had large amounts of cash on them. Grizzaffi also had a stun gun in the car door, and told police she didn’t have a permit for it, something that is required, according to a separate affidavit from Massachusetts State Police.

Gilbert and Riendeau told police they didn’t “specifically know” Lynch planned on robbing the bank, but figured it out after the matter, according to the affidavit.

Hartford police recovered the black hooded sweatshirt and orange scarf Lynch allegedly wore during the robbery on Old River Road in White River Junction.

Lynch, who had been living in Windsor, currently is listed in court records as homeless.

Lynch was out on bail in New Hampshire, the affidavit says. He currently has two pending matters in the Granite State, including an allegation that he drove with a suspended license.

Lebanon Police Chief Richard Mello said his department also has a warrant out for Lynch’s arrest on a theft charge for allegedly stealing more than a dozen DVD’s from his roommate and selling them at a West Lebanon store.

Grizzaffi was the girlfriend of Austin Colson, a 19-year-old Royalton man who was shot and killed a year ago. His death has been ruled a homicide and no one has been charged. Friday marks one year since Colson was reported missing.

Gilbert is the sister of Anthony Boisvert, the Lebanon man who pleaded guilty in July 2018 to setting the First Baptist Church of Lebanon on fire in December 2016 and then later stabbing a couple he feared would implicate him. Gilbert was charged in connection with her brother’s case, and pleaded guilty in September 2017 to an amended charge of obstructing justice for erasing information on her cellphone during the investigation into Boisvert’s actions. The sentence she received for that charge also accounted for two controlled drug charges she was facing at the time.

A Grafton County grand jury indicted Riendeau, who has a prior drug-related conviction, in December on felony controlled drug acts prohibited charges for allegedly possessing buprenorphine and fentanyl in October, according to court records.

It isn’t yet clear when Lynch will be extradited to Vermont to answer to the larceny and other potential charges.

Jordan Cuddemi can be reached at jcuddemi@vnews.com or 603-727-3248.