Feds indict former NJ cop in Pa. bank robbery

January 25, 2011 4:58:17 PM PST
A disgraced former New Jersey police officer has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges he robbed an eastern Pennsylvania bank, but court documents reveal little about how the FBI linked him to the heist.

Carl Holliday, 33, of Vineland, N.J., was arrested on the bank robbery charge Jan. 7, the same day a federal magistrate ordered him jailed as a flight risk and a danger to the community. Holliday was awaiting a preliminary hearing at which federal prosecutors would have had to present probable cause for his arrest, when a federal magistrate on Tuesday issued a court order canceling that hearing because of the indictment.

A news release Tuesday from the U.S. Attorney in Harrisburg confirms the indictment is on a charge of robbing a PNC Bank branch in White Haven, Luzerne County, on Nov. 18. But the indictment was not available through an online court record service and the news release offered no details about the robbery.

Holliday's attorney, federal public defender Hervery Young, did not immediately return a call for comment.

Heidi Havens, a spokeswoman for the federal prosecutor, said she could not say anything beyond the information in the news release, which also noted that Holliday was formerly employed as a Bridgeton, N.J., police officer in 2006.

New Jersey court records show Holliday served four months of a three-year prison sentence for various police misconduct.

Holliday and another Bridgeton officer were accused of various misconduct while patrolling in November 2006, including failing to arrest a drunken driver and allegedly beating a man who later settled a lawsuit for $25,000 in which he claimed to have been beaten by police.

In a 2008 plea bargain, Holliday acknowledged letting the drunken driving suspect go free, but neither he nor the other officer directly admitted to the beating.

The FBI complaint filed by agents in Pennsylvania contends Holliday took $5,032 from the Luzerne County bank. The complaint references an attached affidavit spelling out the reasons for the arrest, but that document also was not accessible on an electronic court records site Tuesday.

The day Holliday was arrested, U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Blewitt ordered Holliday jailed until further notice after a detention hearing.

"The weight of evidence is strong against the defendant. The defendant has a prior criminal record and is under investigation for other offenses," the magistrate said in his detention order. "Defendant was also in the process of repeat conduct of robbery."

Blewitt ordered Holliday jailed indefinitely because "there are no conditions that would ensure the appearance of defendant or the safety of the community" if he were released on bail.

Holliday faces up to 20 years in prison, three years on probation, and a fine up to $250,000 if convicted of the bank robbery.