Federal agents arrested an Edgartown resident for his connection to an armed bank robbery in Falmouth on April 8 after a weeks-long investigation involving multiple agencies.
Cape and Islands District Attorney Robert J. Galibois’ office issued a press release on Tuesday announcing the arrest of 40-year-old Petar Petyoshin in last month’s robbery of the Rockland Trust bank at 20 Davis Straits in Falmouth.
Petyoshin, a husband and father of three, was taken into custody Tuesday morning by State Police at the Martha’s Vineyard Registry of Motor Vehicles, and arraigned a few hours later in Falmouth District Court on charges of armed and masked robbery with a firearm, bomb/hijack threat, larceny over $1,200, carjacking, and seven counts of kidnapping.
He’s currently being held without bail pending a detention hearing, scheduled for May 30.
Police say Petyoshin, a water operator with the Oak Bluffs Water District and local business owner, robbed the bank on April 8 disguised in a wig and surgical mask, and brandishing a handgun. He also threatened to use a bomb.
Bank employees present at the time of the robbery told investigators that he “approached [a] teller, placed a device on the counter, and informed us it was C-4 … He pointed a gun at customers, telling them they are being robbed.”
Witnesses say the man placed signs on the entrance of the bank warning customers not to come in.
A woman and her nephew entered the bank shortly after. “We tried to leave,” the nephew told police in court documents obtained by The Times. “Then the man proceeded to pull out a gun and point it at us while mentioning a bomb that was placed on the counter.”
Some bank witnesses described the suspect as a heavyset male, who used a “phony accent.”
Other witnesses described the man speaking “with an Eastern European accent.”
After ordering bank staff to “[fill] up a Walmart bag full of cash,” the man forced the three employees, and four patrons present to zip-tie one another.
According to Falmouth Police records, the man left the bank with the supposed bomb, a customer’s Ford Flex, and around $21,500 in stolen cash.
In a statement to the police after the incident, one witness said although the device was “the fakest-looking C-4 I had ever seen,” the handgun pointed at people appeared to be real, and loaded. The witness said he “saw the brass of the bullets when the suspect turned the handgun sideways.”
Investigators later identified Petyoshin and his vehicle through witness descriptions and video surveillance from nearby businesses, including the Steamship Authority, before and after the robbery, the DA’s office says.
According to reports, a man loosely matching the description of the suspect was captured in surveillance photos less than 20 minutes after the heist. He was seen near the bank customer’s stolen Ford Flex, which was abandoned next to Teaticket Park.
The man was then seen on camera getting into a 2007 silver Hyundai Entourage at the Teaticket Park Highway parking lot before driving to the Woods Hole ferry terminal, where he parked in the waiting line.
According to police, the man at the terminal was seen “wearing the same distinctive sneakers worn by the suspect of the bank robbery [at] Rockland Trust earlier in the morning.”
Petyoshin’s name was first brought up after investigators looked into the registered owners of the exact make and model of the car.
Similarly, surveillance photos of the van were consistent with Petyoshin’s Hyundai, which had a Star Wars decal of a TIE Fighter on the hood.
The Steamship Authority was able to confirm that Petyoshin, in his registered vehicle, departed Vineyard Haven to Woods Hole at 7 am and returned at 1:15 pm on the day of the robbery.
Police also gathered cell phone records confirming his whereabouts.
Additional details provided by investigators reveal that Petyoshin has been under surveillance by the Massachusetts State Police (MSP) Special Investigations Unit–FBI Violent Crimes Task Force since as early as May 1.
GPS was installed on the Entourage on May 3. MSP was granted permission by Falmouth District Court to install video surveillance outside his Edgartown residence the next day.
On May 13, Petyoshin attempted to sell the 2007 silver van on a local Facebook page for $4,500. The post said, “Great family vehicle. Served our family for years … Selling because I bought a new car.”
Police reports confirm that two days earlier, Petyoshin purchased a black Mercedes Benz GL450 in Connecticut for around $16,000.
The weeks-long investigation was conducted by the Massachusetts State Police, Falmouth Police Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Petyoshin’s Tuesday arrest was made by the Massachusetts State Police Special Tactical Operations Team. The FBI Boston’s Violent Crimes Task Force, and the Falmouth, Edgartown, and Oak Bluffs Police Departments assisted.
Witnesses in Edgartown reported seeing a raid of an Edgartown home, which was later linked to Petyoshin, after the arrest on Tuesday.
Officials say that the raid was performed after the arrest and was related to a search warrant involved in the investigation.
Around 9 am, a number of unmarked vehicles and plainclothes officers surrounded the Chase Road residence.
Times staff were told by residents of the house, one of them a young child, that they were ejected from the property by law enforcement. They say it was unclear what entity the officers were with at the time.
Various social media pictures and videos linked to Petyoshin indicate a familiarity with handguns, some posts appearing within days of the Rockland Trust bank robbery in Falmouth.
Upon a check with the Criminal Justice Information Services database, police found that Petyoshin owns 55 firearms.
Some of those guns were seen being removed from his residence in Edgartown.
The penalty for armed carjacking is seven years imprisonment. Counts of larceny over $1,200 can carry penalties up to five years. Kidnapping charges can range from less than 2.5 to 10 years imprisonment.