by Bill Leukhardt
A Derby man’s fixation on pop singer Taylor Swift led him to rob an Ansonia bank last week, drive to her Rhode Island home and throw money over a fence to impress her, police said Tuesday.
“It seemed he wanted to propose to her,” Ansonia Police spokesman Lt. Patrick Lynch said of Bruce Rowley. “But she wasn’t home when he went there. He said he threw some of the money over a fence to impress her.”
When the singer failed to show, Rowley decided to drive home. Rhode Island troopers spotted his vehicle and pursued him into Connecticut, where Rowley was apprehended.
“We didn’t know about Taylor Swift until our officers picked him up from state police to drive him back to Ansonia. He began to talk all about it in the cruiser,” Lynch said.
According to police records, Rowley “spontaneously uttered” on the ride back to Ansonia that he went to Rhode Island to meet Swift, who police said apparently knows nothing about Rowley.
Once at her $17 million Watch Hill mansion, Rowley tossed some of the stolen $1,600 over a fence for her to find, he told police. He also mentioned he planned “on donating some of the money he stole to the Ansonia PD.”
Rowley, 26, of Chapel Street in Derby, was charged with second-degree robbery and fourth-degree larceny. Two people identified him as the person in surveillance photos taken during the April 4 robbery at the Webster Bank at 200 Division St. in Ansonia.
Rowley was spotted April 5 driving on I-95 in Rhode Island in a 2001 Jeep Cherokee, police said. Rowley fled when Rhode Island troopers tried to stop him. The pursuit ended at exit 89 on I-95 in Connecticut after Connecticut troopers used spike strips to flatten the tires on Rowley’s Jeep.
Rowley was arraigned Friday in Superior Court in Derby.
Police recovered some of the stolen money but have been unable so far to find any that Rowley claimed to have thrown over a fence.
Some of the money may be red because a dye pack hidden in the stolen cash exploded in the bank parking lot, coloring the money and Rowley, Lynch said.