Lewiston bank robbed


LEWISTON – A lone gunman robbed a Sabattus Street bank shortly before noon Wednesday.

The man showed a handgun to a teller at Bank of America, demanded money and fled out the back door with an undisclosed amount of cash, police said. He likely escaped through a neighboring backyard.

The suspect was described as white, about 6 feet tall, slim build, goatee, black hair, dressed in a black jacket, blue jeans, light turtleneck and wearing sunglasses, gloves, a dark knit cap and possibly a black wig.

Police found a man matching a general description of the robber about a block from the bank. They detained him at the station shortly after bank officials called police, but released him later in the day.

Deputy police Chief Michael Bussiere said the robber grabbed the branch manager by the arm, but no injuries were reported.

He said officials don’t believe the robbery was connected to a spate of local bank heists dating back to November. A suspect in those heists was arrested March 20 in Auburn on federal charges.

A Portland branch of Bank of America was robbed Tuesday. A suspect was picked up in Wells half an hour after that armed robbery, according to news reports.

After the Lewiston robbery, police fanned out around the bank’s back parking lot at 11:45 a.m., about five minutes after the robbery. They snapped photographs and searched for evidence. A police dog followed a trail between houses behind the bank to Belgarde Avenue. Cruisers blocked the bank’s entrance and exit.

One man walked toward an outdoor automatic teller machine. A uniformed officer blocked his path, saying, “They’re closed for the day.”

Inside the bank, police viewed surveillance tapes and interviewed bank workers and other witnesses. Outside the bank, they talked to neighbors, Bussiere said.

The FBI sent two agents to the bank to assist in the investigation, he said.

No arrest had been made by 3 p.m.