Two suspects who fled the scene of a robbery at Key Bank in the Town of Ulster on Thursday, May 13 were taken into custody early the following morning, but the stolen money has yet to be recovered.
Tyler D. Meltz of Hudson and Tonya T. Perez of Sprakers in Montgomery County were arrested without incident less than 16 hours after the robbery by Columbia County Sheriff’s deputies and charged by the Town of Ulster Police Department.
Ulster Police Chief Kyle Berardi on Monday said Meltz entered the bank at roughly 2:40 p.m. on Thursday afternoon and handed a note to a teller. The exact text of the note has not been released, and Berardi added that Meltz did not show a weapon, and no weapon was recovered after the arrest.
“There was no weapon display or anything like that,” Berardi said. “The note was passed, demanding the currency from the teller. No threat of violence, but nonetheless [Meltz still instilled fear in them.”
Berardi added that Perez never entered the bank with Meltz but was arrested for assisting in the robbery.
“The suspect fled the scene, and through a lot of video surveillance that we gathered from the surrounding area were able to find out the vehicle which we believe was involved,” Berardi said. “And then luckily, with that description put out throughout the surrounding area, the vehicle was located in Columbia County the next morning in the early morning hours.”
Meltz and Perez were charged with robbery and grand larceny, both felonies. The pair were arraigned in Ulster Town Court by Judge Susan Kesick and then released with tickets to return for a later court date in accordance with the state’s 2020 bail reform law.
On Monday, Berardi said that the police were still in the early stages of the investigation.
“We’re tying up the loose ends now and going back and retracing our steps to see what we can tidy up,” he said.
Police did not say how much was stolen in the robbery.
Berardi said bank robberies are very rare in the Town of Ulster.
“I think the last bank robbery we had in the town was about 20 years ago, and I believe it was … at the same branch,” he said.
A Key Bank on Wall Street in Kingston was robbed on July 24, 2017; the next day, suspect Bradley Cook was arrested and was found guilty of robbery the following March.
Bank robberies have declined in recent decades. Berardi said surveillance technology improvements have increased the risk of getting caught.
“Video’s never been better,” Berardi said. “Every business has cameras on the outside of their buildings, and maybe that’s been deterring people from committing these types of crimes. And honestly, what they would get out of these robberies is not very much considering what the risks are.”
Berardi said the hope is that the quick arrest will discourage potential copycat crimes from occurring.
“I’ve seen that over my career,” Berardi said. “We’ll see another copycat who thinks it looks easier, or they think they can get it done better or whatever the case.”