LEWISTON — A Portland man was sentenced Wednesday to more than 14 years in prison for armed robbery of a local bank and a Portland credit union in 2015.

Neil West Sr., 65, appeared in U.S. District Court in Portland where Chief Judge Nancy Torresen imposed a 14½-year sentence plus five years of supervised release.

The judge also ordered West to serve an additional two years in prison for violating conditions of his supervised release at the time of the 2015 robberies.

West was found guilty at trial in July 2016 on charges of armed bank robbery and conspiracy to commit bank robbery stemming from the September robberies of a TD Bank on Lisbon Street in Lewiston and a University Credit Union in Portland. He was acquitted of charges of aiding and abetting armed and unarmed bank robbery of a Norway Savings Bank branch in Freeport.

West helped plan and served as getaway driver in a Jeep for the Sept. 4, 2015,  Portland robbery. Co-defendant Joseph Richards was involved in both robberies, wearing a wig and makeup and brandishing a pellet gun in the Portland robbery. Chrystal Dufault, who covered her face with a bandanna, also assisted in the planning and execution of the Portland robbery where Richards leapt over the teller counter and filled a bag with money, according to court papers.

After the Sept. 12, 2015, TD Bank robbery, committed by Richards, West led police on a high-speed chase in a Chrysler minivan. The chase ended in Saco, where West was arrested.

West had been on federal supervised release for being an accessory after-the-fact to bank robbery at the time of his arrest. He had been sentenced to 41 months on that charge in June 2013. A condition of his release was to refrain from committing any federal offense.

Richards was sentenced in September to a 15-year prison term; Dufault, three years.

Torresen said at West’s sentencing that bank robberies cause “great emotional harm to tellers and customers and put people at risk.”

West’s lengthy criminal history and his “extremely reckless driving through residential neighborhoods at high rates of speed” while seeking to elude police because his co-defendants had committed robberies were considered aggravating factors that resulted in the stiff sentence, Torresen said.

West and co-defendants were ordered to pay more than $12,000 in restitution to the credit union and repay $18 to the bank, despite having taken $9,888 from that bank, according to court records.

During his supervised release, West must undergo substance abuse and mental health counseling.

The Lewiston Police Department assisted in conducting a joint investigation of the robberies, along with departments from New Hampshire and other Maine police departments. Maine State Police, the Southern Maine Gang Task Force, which is composed of agents and officers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and other local and federal departments, all contributed to the effort.

“These armed bank robberies were quickly solved because local, state and federal law enforcement agencies across two states worked closely together,” U.S. Attorney Thomas Delahanty II said in a written statement.

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