The Bank of America teller who helped police catch the notorious "Hat Bandit" responsible for 19 area robberies in 10 months was handed $10,000 in reward money from law enforcement this afternoon - but said he had to give up his job to collect it. Steven Gomez, a 21-year-old junior at Rutgers University, said his employer told him he had to forfeit the job if he took the money publicly. Gomez said he chose to leave the bank and portrayed his departure as a resignation rather than being fired. He said his Bank of America bosses were not happy with him because he defied company procedures when he trailed the robber out of the building after the bandit demanded $3,000. Bank of America spokeswoman Tara Burke said today she could not speak about Gomez personally but all employees are trained in the steps and actions to take in the event of a robbery. "It is for their protection as well as the protection of the customers," Burke said. Gomez, an Elizabeth resident, is a business and finance major who worked 25 hours a week at the bank. Gomez was instrumental to police in cracking the case of the mystery man who wore hats to his bank heists. Authorities had no solid leads until July 22, when James Madison walked into the Union Township bank branch. Madison demanded $3,000 from Gomez. Gomez turned over the money but decided to trail Madison to the parking lot and spied him leaving in a black 2001 Nissan Altima. Gomez got the license plate number that led police to Madison, a paroled killer living in Maplewood. Madison, 50, has since confessed to 19 robberies in which he netted $80,000. Madison pleaded guilty in federal court in September and is awaiting sentencing. Contributing to Gomez' reward were Union County Crimestoppers ($1,000), Morris County Crimestoppers ($1,000), Essex County Crimestoppers ($1,000), Commerce Bank ($2,000) and the FBI ($5,000).