The News of Cumberland County by Stephen Smith - January 8, 2011
A former Bridgeton police officer, who served prison time for official misconduct, has confessed to seven bank robberies in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including two robberies of the same Millville bank, according to authorities in Pennsylvania. Carl Holliday, 33, confessed Thursday to eight robberies, including one at a drug store, police in White Haven, Pa., confirmed Friday afternoon. Two of the alleged robberies occurred at the TD Bank branch on Second Street in Millville. Holliday’s arrest followed a tip from a witness to one of the Pennsylvania robberies. Around 4:15 p.m. Thursday, a man who had been present at the Nov. 18 robbery of a PNC Bank in White Haven, noticed the same gold-colored Honda Accord parked outside of the same bank. The car did not have license plates. The witness called police, who pulled over the car for the plate violation. Holliday was identified as the driver. White Haven police took him into custody and met with FBI agents at the White Haven police station. “He was saying he knew we had him,” said Officer Gary Shupp of the White Haven Police Department. “It just took a little while for us to get it all out of him.” Shupp said that while talking to White Haven police and FBI agents, Holliday confessed to robbing six banks and a Rite Aid. In Pennsylvania, he said he had robbed banks in Allentown, Quakertown and White Haven, where he also robbed a Rite Aid drug store, according to police. He said he had robbed banks in New Jersey in Paulsboro, Harrison Township and Millville. Specific dates and locations of those robberies were not released Friday. The Millville TD Bank was robbed twice in less than 20 days last fall, on Oct. 15 and Nov. 4. At the time, authorities said they believed those robberies were committed by the same person. Shupp said that it was through extensive efforts by White Haven Officer Thomas Szoke, whose idea it was to institute a neighborhood watch program in White Haven, as well as the reporting resident, that the case was solved as fast as it was. “He was using his exact MO (modus operandi) as before. Luckily our citizens knew what to look for, and he was caught,” Shupp said. Special Agent J.J. Klaver, of the Philadelphia FBI office, confirmed Holliday had been taken into custody in White Haven. He said he was taken to the Federal Courthouse for the Middle District of Pennsylvania in Scranton, and was arraigned Friday afternoon on one charge of bank robbery in relation to the robbery of the PNC Bank in White Haven. This is not Holliday’s first run-in with the law. He was formerly an officer with Millville, the Bridgeton Board of Education, and most recently the Bridgeton Police Department. Holliday’s tenure in Bridgeton came to an end following a November 2006 incident, in which he and Gregory Willis, who were on duty in an unmarked police vehicle, arrested Rigoverto Diaz. Holliday told the man in Spanish they were taking him home. While driving with Diaz, he and Willis pulled over a man for suspicion of drunken driving. The man was the brother of another police officer, and rather than arrest him, Holliday and Willis dropped him off at another bar. After dropping the man off, they continued with Diaz to Bridgeton City Park, where Holliday allegedly punched and kicked him, and stole his wallet, cell phone and hat. Diaz reported the incident to the Bridgeton police. Willis and Holliday eventually pleaded to second-degree official misconduct for not arresting the drunken man, though they never actually pleaded to anything involving their alleged robbing of Diaz. Willis was sentenced to three years in state prison and Holliday to three and a half, though both were released into an intensive supervision program after about only three months in the Mid-State Correctional Facility in Wrightstown. The ISP included mandatory employment, curfews, drug tests and community service. Harvey Goldstein, director of New Jersey’s ISP, said Friday that Holliday graduated from the program in January 2010. He said once out of the ISP, the New Jersey Department of Corrections no longer has any interaction with the participants.