Boston Police report that while Paul Whooten, 56, of Hyde Park, made it out of the Rockand Trust branch on Truman Parkway with money in a bag yesterday afternoon, neither he nor his alleged accomplice got far: Whooten was nabbed about a block away, near Cranmore Road, after he ran from the bank, while Richard Berger, 55, who drove away, was collared in Milton after getting caught in some traffic.
Whooten, who has a history of crafting realistic-looking fake guns for robbery attempts, allegedly walked into the branch around 1:35 p.m. on Saturday wearing a mask and waving what turned out to be a replica gun to demand a teller fill a bag he gave her with money.
Unfortunately for the two alleged desperadoes, there was a detail cop right outside the branch:
Upon seeing the suspect, the officer immediately called for backup while maintaining surveillance on the suspect. With money in hand, the suspect then fled the bank on foot. The detail officer immediately gave chase while broadcasting the suspect’s clothing and direction of flight. In short time, responding officers were able to intercept the suspect in the area of 1080 Truman Parkway. Upon seeing the suspect, officers quickly began issuing verbal commands directing the suspect to drop his weapon. After a continued volley of verbal commands, the suspect finally relented and placed down the firearm. Officers promptly moved in, handcuffed the suspect and secured the firearm.
In addition to the fake gun, officers found a bag full of cash, police say.
Berger, meanwhile, sped away, only to be stopped in Milton, where police found him trying to weave in and out of traffic at a high rate of speed.
Whooten was charged with armed bank robbery, while Berger was charged with intent to rob a bank while armed, police say.
In 2000, Whooten was sentenced to nearly 12 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to five counts related to the way he and an accomplice used what turned out to be a toy gun to rob a Bread and Circus store in Wayland of $10,000 the year before.
In 2011, he and an accomplice were charged with holding up a UPS store on Massachusetts Avenue in the Fenway, using a replica gun Whooten had crafted out of a nozzle and black duct tape.
While imprisoned at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Whooten became a plaintiff in a class-action suit against the state over the way the correctional system treated inmates with hepatitis C. A federal judge dismissed the case after the prisoners and the state agreed to a settlement under which the inmates would get improved care.