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Rutherford police cancel Eminem bank robber comeback tour

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

EXCLUSIVE: From out of the recent criminal past, the bank-robbing heroin addict who became known as the “Eminem robber” was caught again, this time after Rutherford police said he knocked over the local Wells Fargo branch.

A former member of the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted” list, Michael R. Hasuga didn’t even like the nickname given him by a newspaper reporter in the middle of a 12-holdup spree nearly a decade ago. He was more of a metal head, Hasuga said.

Eminem’s entourage complained, as well.

[ PUBLISHER’S NOTE: I was the Law & Order Editor of the Bergen Record in 2003. My federal justice reporter, Mitch Maddux, came up with the nickname, and it stuck. The resulting publicity put police and citizens on the alert – and eventually led to Hasuga’s capture. ]

On Tuesday morning, Hasuga passed a threatening note at the Wells Fargo bank on Sylvan Street around 10:20 a.m. before making off with the cash, Rutherford Police Capt. Hal Ciser told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .

A woman ran out of the bank and alerted a passerby, who watched Hasuga get into a white 1995 Chevy wagon, then jotted down the license plate number and immediately summoned police.

About 20 minutes later, Rutherford Police Sgt. Henry Farrell and Patrolman Robert Buell spotted the vehicle getting onto Route 21. Hasuga was pulled over just south of Nutley and didn’t resist, Ciser said.

He’s being held on $1 million bail in the Bergen County Jail, charged with robbery, theft and threatening to kill.

  • YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: “Give me all the money or I’ll shoot the first person I see,” the man once known as “the Eminem robber” wrote on a note he passed during a holdup Tuesday in Rutherford, an FBI agent wrote in a complaint that will be entered into the record when the defendant is brought into federal court in Newark this afternoon. READ MORE….
  • YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: The “Eminem robber” is at it again: Rutherford police have charged 54-year-old Michael Hasuga with this morning’s $1,000 holdup of a Wells Fargo bank on Park Avenue — the fourth capture in four Rutherford bank robberies the past decade. READ MORE….

Hasuga caused quite a stir back in 2003, pulling a dozen heists and earning the Marshall Mathers moniker because of New York Yankees ski caps and bulky, hooded jackets that disguised his age (He was 44 at the time).

Spacing the robberies 10 days to two weeks apart, Hasuga struck in Rutherford, Clifton, Lyndhurst, Hasbrouck Heights, Teaneck and Fort Lee, among other locales that were close to highways.

He had help in some of the holdups, thanks to a girlfriend from Morris County who cased some of the banks in advance, wrote some of the threatening demand notes and drove the getaway car. As of early this afternoon, Rutherford police believe Hasuga acted alone this morning, but they weren’t ruling out an accomplice.

Hasuga’s sense of style, or lack of it, helped police end the spree when then-Belleville Police Lt. Anthony Romandetto spotted Hasuga remove a wool stocking cap, replace it with a baseball cap, then reverse his jacket after leaving a Valley National Bank – one of several banks where sketches of him had been posted.

The officer made a beeline for Hasuga, then heard the holdup broadcast and grabbed him. Hasuga had $1,500 stolen from the bank in his pocket.

Hasuga later told the FBI he didn’t like hip-hop. A federal judge didn’t particularly like bank robbers and sentenced him to 13 years in prison. A police source said Hasuga recently was paroled and had been living in Lyndhurst, as well as in Bloomfield.

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