Woman pleads guilty to Bangor bank robbery

Posted Nov. 17, 2010, at 3 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 12:06 p.m.
CAPTION
Image of a bank robbery suspect Matisha Marie Pitts taken on Tuesday, July 6, 2010. The Bangor Savings Bank at 3 State Street was robbed at approxamately 9:30 am the suspect reportedly fled in a taxi cab. (Bangor Daily News/Kevin Bennett)   (WEB EDITION PHOTO)
Kevin Bennett Kevin Bennett
CAPTION Image of a bank robbery suspect Matisha Marie Pitts taken on Tuesday, July 6, 2010. The Bangor Savings Bank at 3 State Street was robbed at approxamately 9:30 am the suspect reportedly fled in a taxi cab. (Bangor Daily News/Kevin Bennett) (WEB EDITION PHOTO)

BANGOR, Maine — A local woman’s voice quavered with emotion and tears rolled down her cheeks Wednesday in U.S. District Court when she pleaded guilty to robbing a downtown bank in July.

Matisha Marie Pitts, 25, of Bangor pleaded not guilty earlier this month to bank robbery. On Wednesday, she waived her right to a jury trial and admitted that she entered Bangor Savings Bank on State Street around 9:30 a.m. July 6 and handed a note to a teller that demanded money.

Pitts indicated she had a gun in her bag and would start shooting if anyone tried to stop her, according to court documents. The bank employee handed over $1,390 in cash, and Pitts left the bank.

The note, including grammatical and spelling errors, said: “I have a gun in my purse give me all your 20s and tens or Ill start shooting if any 1 tries and stop me B4 I leave Ill shot No Joke,” according to court documents.

Witnesses later told police that a woman matching the description of the bank robber got into a taxi in front of Bangor Savings a few minutes after 9:30 a.m. Police traced the taxi to an apartment building on Kenduskeag Avenue, where Pitts was found.

After searching the apartment, police recovered $780 in cash but no weapon, according to court documents. The remaining money was not accounted for.

Throughout Wednesday’s 30-minute hearing before U.S. District Judge John Woodcock, Pitts was emotional but under control — a sharp contrast to when she first appeared in federal court the day after the bank was robbed. Then, she appeared to be unable to convey information to the court about herself and her finances to determine whether she qualified for court-appointed counsel.

The defendant told Woodcock on Wednesday that she was on several prescription drugs, including one for paranoid schizophrenia. Pitts was prescribed the medication after she underwent a psychiatric evaluation out of state at a federal facility. The report is sealed under the health care privacy law.

Pitts will be held without bail pending sentencing. She has been in federal custody since her arrest shortly after the robbery.

A sentencing date has not been set.

She faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000. In addition, Pitts most likely will ordered to pay restitution to the bank.

Pitts has a history of criminal activity dating back to 2004, mostly involving theft and forgery charges. Earlier this year, she was arrested in Ellsworth and charged with printing counterfeit money and trying to use the bills at local businesses. That case is pending.

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