Suspect in bank robbery held on $300K cash/bond bail

Surveillance footage released by police of
Surveillance footage released by police of Robert Santoro prior to his arrest.

The suspect in the Friday afternoon robbery of a downtown Riverhead bank has a prior felony conviction for criminal sale of a controlled substance, and said in court that he is homeless and is prohibited from going to the Riverhead home he owns by an order of protection.

Robert Santoro, 46, was charged with first-degree robbery Friday in connection with a robbery at the Capital One Bank on East Main Street, after he allegedly handed a teller a note demanding money and threatened to use a gun.

He was arraigned and ordered held on $300,000 cash or bond bail by Riverhead Town Justice Richard Ehlers Saturday morning.

His next court date is Tuesday.

Mr. Santoro in his note demanded “100s, 50s, 20s, and 10s” and said he had a gun, but didn’t want to use it because he didn’t want to hurt anyone, according to court documents.

He left with an unspecified amount of money and fled on foot. He was later located at the Budget Host Inn in Riverside and arrested without incident, according to police.

In court Saturday morning, assistance district attorney Sean Buckley said Mr. Santoro has a prior felony conviction, which was for criminal sale of a controlled substance, as well as a prior misdemeanor conviction and two instances where he failed to appear in court to answer charges.

Asked by Judge Ehlers if he is employed, Mr. Santoro, speaking very quietly, said he does construction work.

He will be assigned a Legal Aid attorney.

The bank robbery was captured on surveillance photos, and police released a full description of the suspect the same day.

In court, Mr. Santoro was not wearing glasses and appeared to be clean shaven.

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