BANGOR, Maine — A 30-year-old transient was sentenced Wednesday in Penobscot County Superior Court to 10 years in prison with all but six years suspended for a March crime spree that included robbing two convenience stores in Bangor and Kenduskeag with a toy gun.
Travis L. Gustin also was sentenced to five years, all suspended, on 14 felony counts for breaking into storage lockers and taking what was inside them and stealing from a Bangor rental store and a construction site. In addition, he was sentenced to six months, all suspended, on two misdemeanor theft counts.
Justice Michaela Murphy ordered that Gustin, who said he stole to feed his drug habit, serve all the time concurrently.
He faced up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000 for each of the robberies and up to five years and a fine of up to $10,000 on the other felonies. He faced up to a year in prison and fine of up to $5,000 on the misdemeanor crimes.
Murphy also sentenced him to three years of probation for the robberies and other felonies to be served after he is released from prison and ordered Gustin to pay $4,500 in restitution to two of his victims. That figure is based on what Murphy determined he would be able to pay while on probation and supporting his five children.
Michael Roberts, deputy district attorney for Penobscot County, estimated that Gustin actually stole close to $10,000 in goods and cash.
In imposing the sentence, Murphy said that she found the victim impact of the crime
spree to be profound, partly because the clerks believed the gun was real. Several told Murphy that they experienced higher anxiety levels after the robberies but due to personal circumstances felt they could not quit or change their hours.
The owner of the Bangor store told the judge that he has had trouble finding evening workers since the robbery and that customers have said they now are reluctant to stop at the store after dark.
An emotional Gustin apologized to his victims.
“I’m truly sorry for what I did,” he said. “I know I need to go to prison. I know I need to get help.”
The defendant also said that he would not have faced so many felonies if he had not confessed to all of the crimes he had committed. Gustin told the judge he needed to get “all of them off my chest.”
Murphy warned the victims before she handed down the sentence that they might be disappointed.
“I cannot just decide a sentence that makes sense to me,” Murphy said in explaining the sentence. “People who sit in this chair have to follow a process set out by the law court and the Legislature. Sometimes there is a big disconnect between what victims expect and what I legally can consider.”
Several victims shook their heads in disagreement when she announced Gustin would be serving six years.
Gustin pleaded guilty earlier this month to two robberies, eight burglaries, seven
thefts and one count of aggravated forgery. He turned himself in to police in April.
He has been held at the Penobscot County Jail in Bangor unable to make bail of $50,000 cash or $200,000 surety. The time he has been incarcerated will count toward his sentence.
The defendant, who previously lived in Bangor, Dexter and Garland, admitted robbing the Tom T. Irving Store at 1123 Broadway in Bangor at 9:08 p.m. Saturday, March 28, and the Sam’s Qwik Stop on Route 15 in Kenduskeag at 8:50 p.m. the next day. In both cases, according to police, the robber wore a mask and pointed a handgun at the store clerk, then escaped with an undisclosed amount of money. No injuries were reported.
The gun turned out not to be real, Roberts said in May when Gustin was indicted by the Penobscot County grand jury, so he could not be charged with armed robbery.
If he had used a real gun, Gustin most likely would have been charged with Class A robbery and would have faced up to 30 years in prison.
Gustin’s co-defendant in some of the crimes, Alan D. Perkins, 38, was sentenced this summer, Roberts said, to 3½ years in prison after pleading guilty to taking part in four of the burglaries.