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Saturday, July 26, 2008

By Gregory Smith

Journal Staff Writer


PROVIDENCE - Aress T. Byrd, 33, of 221 Amherst St., a convicted bank robber released from prison last month, is the man who committed suicide Thursday as he was about to be arrested for another bank robbery, according to the police.
Byrd was identified yesterday, as a man and a woman were arraigned in District Court, Providence, on charges that they conspired with Byrd to hold up the Bank of America branch at 1473 Broad St. in Washington Park.
After the holdup, Byrd fired six shots in a brief running confrontation with the police, two more than previously disclosed, Detective Capt. Hugh T. Clements Jr. said yesterday. The officers were not hurt and, in a demonstration of restraint that drew praise from superiors, they did not return fire.
The suspects lost control of their alleged loot, and officers wound up scurrying around trying to grab as many of the wind-blown bills as they could.
Anthony Gardiner, 37, of 388 Public St., was charged with first-degree robbery of the Bank of America and conspiracy to rob, and Byrd's girlfriend, Yolanda C. Briggs, 32, of 50 Imera St., was charged with first-degree robbery of the Bank of America, conspiracy to rob, and aiding and abetting the potential robbery of the Citizens Bank next door at 1477 Broad.
Both were ordered held without bail at the Adult Correctional Institutions.
Carrying handguns and somehow covering their faces, according to conflicting witness statements, Byrd and Gardiner allegedly robbed the Bank of America branch of an undisclosed sum at about 11:15 a.m. Thursday.
"They brandished firearms and aggressively threatened both bank employees and customers," Clements said. "They instructed bank employees not to activate any of the alarms - or violence would follow."
As Byrd and Gardiner allegedly fled north on Prairie Avenue in their getaway vehicle, a Dodge Caravan, an unidentified motorist hailed Patrolman George Duarte, who was south of the bank, at Broad and Detroit Avenue. The motorist said the occupants of the van had just robbed the bank.
After Duarte broadcast an alert, officers swarmed into the vicinity of Prairie and Chester avenues and Public, Milk and Bogman streets, in South Providence. When confronted by Patrolwoman Amy Mello at 277 Prairie, Byrd allegedly fired four shots at her, two of which struck her cruiser.
A short time later, Byrd allegedly fired two more shots at Sgt. Peter Costello, who was in a moving cruiser, but the bullets went astray.
Detective David Moscarelli then came upon Byrd, who was standing near a deck behind a house at 270 Prairie, pointing his gun at his mouth. Moscarelli, according to the police, urged him three times, "Don't do it," but Byrd aimed the barrel of the gun into his mouth and fired. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Byrd had a substantial rap sheet, court and prison records show, with convictions varying from shoplifting and trespassing to violent crimes. Most recently he was incarcerated at the ACI after having been convicted of robbing the Sovereign Bank branch at 1045 Smith St., in Elmhurst, in 2003.
Byrd had seen his probation officer on Monday and was scheduled to see her again Thursday but did not keep his appointment, according to Tracey Z. Poole, spokeswoman for the state Department of Corrections.
What the police described as an "intense search" for the second suspect ensued after Byrd fell. Officers followed a trail of currency - the alleged loot - to the rear door of a house at 388 Public, which is around the corner from 277 Prairie, where Mello first confronted the alleged robbers.
Inside they found Gardiner, who was arrested. Investigators have not found the weapon that he is said to have wielded.
During the investigation, the police were approached by Briggs, who identified herself as Byrd's girlfriend. After questioning, they charged her, too.
Clements would not explain the aiding-and-abetting charge pertaining to the Citizens branch.
"Further facts gleaned from the investigation will be presented at future court proceedings," Clements said.
The captain said almost all of the stolen money was recovered - "It was flying all over the place" - but he refused to reveal how much money had been stolen.

http://www.projo.com/news/content/Bank_Death_Case_07-26-08_TUB0AEB_v48.3e8633c.html?npc
 
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Detective David Moscarelli then came upon Byrd, who was standing near a deck behind a house at 270 Prairie, pointing his gun at his mouth. Moscarelli, according to the police, urged him three times, "Don't do it," but Byrd aimed the barrel of the gun into his mouth and fired. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Detective Moscarelli then thought to himself; "SHIT...there goes my night". :cool:
 
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