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Office of Public Information (609) 882-2000
Lt. Stephen Jones - ext. 6513
A/SFC Brian Polite - ext. 6514
A/Sgt Adam Grossman - ext. 6516

February 12, 2013

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Troopers Bust Couple for Multiple Bank Robberies
In Salem County

Pittsgrove Township, Salem County – State Police arrested a man and woman team accused of multiple Salem County bank robberies and attempts while they were allegedly on their way to rob another bank. On Monday, February 11th, troopers stopped and arrested the pair after a failed bank robbery at the First National Bank of Elmer.

Debra Benigno, 52, and Bruce Hansen, 45, both of Monroeville (Elk Twp.), Gloucester County, were charged with six counts of robbery, criminal attempt, aggravated assault, weapons offenses, conspiracy, and terroristic threats.

Yesterday, troopers from Bridgeton and Woodstown Stations responded to the First National Bank of Elmer to investigate a bank robbery reported at 12:45 p.m. An intense manhunt ensued, and responding troopers located the suspected getaway vehicle, a silver Nissan Versa, on State Highway 40 and Main Street in Elmer Boro. The occupants were identified as Benigno and Hansen. Benigno was wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt, a black ski cap, blue jeans, and had imitation hair glued to her face (see composite drawing from a previous robbery). Hansen, who was driving the car, resisted arrest and was charged accordingly. Hansen and Benigno were brought back to Bridgeton Station for processing.

Detectives from the Troop A Criminal Investigation Office believe that Benigno and Hansen were actually on their way to rob the Pennsville National Bank for a third time when troopers stopped them. Evidence indicates that Hansen would drive the car while Benigno entered the banks. They are also responsible for robbing the Pennsville National Bank on December 26th, and January 15th. On January 29th they attempted to rob the First National Bank of Elmer, and were successful on the 31st.

Today, State Police detectives and investigators from the Salem County Prosecutor’s Office executed a search warrant at the residence of Hansen and Benigno, 808 Northbrook Road, Elk Twp. In addition to other evidence, investigators seized a wig and the fake hair that matched the hair that was glued to Benigno’s face.

“This investigation had been a top priority for Salem County law enforcement since the December 26th incident," said Salem County Prosecutor John Lenahan. "The New Jersey State Police immediate and alert response which led to the arrest of these two suspects yesterday was outstanding.”

Bail was set at $250,000, full cash. Hansen and Benigno were lodged in the Salem County Jail in default of bail.

The case will be prosecuted by the Salem County Prosecutor’s Office, which also assisted State Police through the entire investigation.

# # #

Bruce Hansen Debra Benigno

Bruce Hansen

Debra Benigno

Composite drawing from a previous robbery

Composite drawing from a previous robbery


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