Career Criminal Who Robbed Fall River Bank Sentenced to Decades in Prison

Bristol County District Attorney’s Office

Thomas M. Quinn III
District Attorney

Press Release
September 28, 2023

A career criminal with a criminal record that dates back to the late 1970s who robbed a Fall River bank and attempted to disarm a police officer will serve the next 12 to 50 years in state prison, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III announced.

Thomas Halpen, 61, of Fall River, pleaded guilty this week in Fall River Superior Court to indictments charging him with Unarmed Robbery and Assault and Battery of a Police Officer with Intent to Disarm.

On September 21, 2018, at approximately 1 pm the defendant, wearing a knit hat with a bear face, glasses and sweat clothes, entered the Fall River Municipal Credit Union. He handed the teller a note demanding money and informed her that he knew where she lived. He was provided in excess of $6,000 with an embedded GPS tracking device. 

Within approximately 30 minutes, the defendant was located at the second floor apartment of 72 Weetamoe street and detained. He was returned to the credit union where he was positively identified. His apartment and vehicle were searched pursuant to search warrants. Located in his apartment was the robbery note, the money and the tracker. The clothing, glasses, hat and other items were found in the vehicle.

The defendant was held in jail for the weekend for a Monday arraignment. On Sunday afternoon, September 23, he made a number of unsolicited statements to officers saying that he screwed up, that he needed the money, and that he was going back to prison for life. At approximately 4 pm on that date, while exiting the bathroom, he lunged at a Fall River Police officer. While attempting to overpower the officer, the defendant tried to remove the firearm from the officer’s retention holster. The officer was able to subdue the defendant and with help from others, he reshackled the defendant. 

The defendant has been incarcerated many time during the past four decades for crimes ranging from armed robbery to forgery to breaking and entering and assault-related crimes.

The case was prosecuted by First Assistant District Attorney Patrick Bomberg and the state prison sentence was imposed by Judge Thomas Perrino.

“The defendant is a career criminal who should have been in state prison for a prior robbery when he committed this robbery. He clearly is a danger to the public and the sentence ensures that society will be protected from the defendant for the rest of his life,” District Attorney Quinn said. 


Gregg Miliote

Director of Communications