Bank robbery turns into chemical scare in Newton
NEWTON, Mass. (WHDH) -- A man was arrested Friday after police say he robbed a Newton bank and attacked an employee with some sort of liquid.
Newton police say the liquid was a mixture of olive oil, cotton seed oil and water. But witnesses didn't know what the liquid was when police say the suspect used it to threaten a teller and rob the bank.
A customer went into The Village Bank in Newton Friday morning warning the teller that there was a man outside wearing a hood and acting suspicious.
“This subject burst into the bank yelling, ‘Get down, get down,’ with some sort of liquid object in a plastic sports bottle, it’s been described as. He started flinging this substance at people inside the bank,” said Lt. Bruce Apotheker of the Newton Police Department.
Lashon Payton, 37, of Boston, was charged with armed robbery. According to court documents the suspect told customers to get down before spraying the liquid around and threatening "I'll light this."
A bank teller says the suspect then sprayed him warning "I'll put you on fire."
The teller was rushed to the hospital and isolated, complaining of a burning sensation in their throat. The EMTs that transported the teller were also isolated as a precaution.
A surveillance camera later captured a picture of the man with a fistful of cash.
“A customer walked into the bank as this was going on which we think caused him to flee immediately,” said Lt. Apotheker.
Police chased the suspect and arrested him nearby on Chestnut Street where they say he was hiding under a porch. But officers say when they arrested Payton, he had ditched the outfit seen in the surveillance pictures.
Police are asking neighbors to keep an eye out for the striped hoodie, black pants and latex gloves that were caught on camera.
The suspect is being held on high bail.