Previously convicted bank robber thwarted by law enforcement during cedar grove bank robbery attempt

NEWARK, NJ — A Hoboken man was arrested Aug. 10 while allegedly trying to rob a Cedar Grove bank, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced in a press release.

Frank Meletti, 53, is charged by complaint with one count of attempted bank robbery. He will appear in Newark federal court at a later date.

According to the complaint, Meletti was previously convicted of bank robbery in June 2009 in the district of New Jersey. He was sentenced to 120 months in prison and five years of supervised release.

In early August 2018, Meletti allegedly asked another individual to act as the getaway driver for an upcoming bank robbery and provided the individual with details about the plan, including the name of the target bank and where to park during the robbery.

On Aug. 9, Meletti and the other individual allegedly went to Investors Bank in Cedar Grove to investigate whether the bank had an armed guard or other security. Meletti instructed the other individual to pick him up for the bank robbery the following morning.

Earlier today, the individual reportedly picked up Meletti at the agreed upon time and asked Meletti if he was sure that he wanted to go through with the plan. Meletti allegedly responded affirmatively. During the ride to Cedar Grove, Meletti allegedly drafted numerous versions of a demand note that he would use for the robbery.

At approximately 10 a.m., Meletti exited the vehicle from a parking lot adjacent to the bank. He was wearing dark sunglasses, a black hat and a black sweatsuit, and carrying a bag to hold proceeds from the robbery.

Meletti approached the front entrance to Investors Bank and attempted to open the exterior door, tugging on it several times and attempting to look through the windows, whereupon he was arrested. The final version of the demand note was recovered from his person and reportedly read, “Place money in bag. No dye. No cops. No alarms.”

The attempted bank robbery charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie in Newark, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Newark Field Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge John B. Devito, with the investigation leading to today’s arrest. He also thanked the Verona and Cedar Grove police departments for their assistance.

The charge and allegations in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proved guilty in a court of law.

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