Robber and bank teller weep as judge hands down four-year sentence

Posted March 10, 2011, at 4:31 p.m.
Last modified March 10, 2011, at 8 p.m.
Matisha Marie Pitts
Kevin Bennett | BDN
Matisha Marie Pitts
A sign indicates the temporary closing of Bangor Savings Bank at 3 State St. in Bangor on July 6, 2010, after a robbery. Matisha Marie Pitts has been convicted of robbing the bank and sentenced to four years in prison.
Bridget Brown | BDN
A sign indicates the temporary closing of Bangor Savings Bank at 3 State St. in Bangor on July 6, 2010, after a robbery. Matisha Marie Pitts has been convicted of robbing the bank and sentenced to four years in prison.
Bangor Police Department members enter Bangor Savings Bank at 3 State St. on Tuesday, July 6, 2010 where a robbery occured shortly after 9:30 a.m. Matisha Marie Pitts has been convicted of robbing the bank and sentenced to four years.
Bridget Brown | BDN
Bangor Police Department members enter Bangor Savings Bank at 3 State St. on Tuesday, July 6, 2010 where a robbery occured shortly after 9:30 a.m. Matisha Marie Pitts has been convicted of robbing the bank and sentenced to four years.
Bangor Police Department members talk outside 86 Kenduskeag Ave. on July 6, 2010, where a suspect involved in a bank robbery fled. The suspect, Matisha Marie Pitts, was convicted of XXXXX after she robbed the Bangor Savings Bank at 3 State St.and left the bank in a taxicab. She has been sentenced to four years in prison.
Bridget Brown | BDN
Bangor Police Department members talk outside 86 Kenduskeag Ave. on July 6, 2010, where a suspect involved in a bank robbery fled. The suspect, Matisha Marie Pitts, was convicted of XXXXX after she robbed the Bangor Savings Bank at 3 State St.and left the bank in a taxicab. She has been sentenced to four years in prison.
Bangor police Sgt. Al Hayden talks to a resident outside 86 Kenduskeag Ave. on July 6, 2010. Matisha Marie Pitts, who robbed the Bangor Savings Bank at 3 State St., was convicted and sentenced to four years in prison.
Bridget Brown | BDN
Bangor police Sgt. Al Hayden talks to a resident outside 86 Kenduskeag Ave. on July 6, 2010. Matisha Marie Pitts, who robbed the Bangor Savings Bank at 3 State St., was convicted and sentenced to four years in prison.
Ace Taxi owner Josh Mizrachi shuttles a fare around Bangor last year as he dispatches other cabs from his cell phone. Mizrachi was at the wheel of his cab when Matisha Marie Pitts and two other women asked to be taken to Bangor Savings Bank on July 6, 2010. Mitts, AGE, has been convicted of robbing the bank and sentenced to four years in prison.
Kevin Bennett | BDN
Ace Taxi owner Josh Mizrachi shuttles a fare around Bangor last year as he dispatches other cabs from his cell phone. Mizrachi was at the wheel of his cab when Matisha Marie Pitts and two other women asked to be taken to Bangor Savings Bank on July 6, 2010. Mitts, AGE, has been convicted of robbing the bank and sentenced to four years in prison.
Bangor police Officers Jason Stuart (left) and Ryan Jones escort Bangor Savings Bank robbery suspect Matisha Marie Pitts from an apartment at 86 Kenduskeag Ave. to a waiting police car July 6, 2010. The bank, at 3 State St. in Bangor, was robbed around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, and Pitts fled in a taxicab. She was convicted and sentenced to four years in prison.
Kevin Bennett | BDN
Bangor police Officers Jason Stuart (left) and Ryan Jones escort Bangor Savings Bank robbery suspect Matisha Marie Pitts from an apartment at 86 Kenduskeag Ave. to a waiting police car July 6, 2010. The bank, at 3 State St. in Bangor, was robbed around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, and Pitts fled in a taxicab. She was convicted and sentenced to four years in prison.

BANGOR, Maine — The woman who demanded money and the bank teller she threatened last summer wept Thursday when a federal judge sentenced Matisha Marie Pitts, 25, of Bangor to four years in prison.

Pitts pleaded guilty in November to robbing the Bangor Savings Bank on State Street.

“It pains me to know that our paths crossed,” Pitts said to the teller shortly before she was sentenced. “I beg you to forgive me. I would unharm you if I could.”

The teller, who is not being identified by the Bangor Daily News, wiped away tears as Pitts spoke. A few minutes earlier, she had told the judge the robbery had taken away her sense of safety. The teller urged U.S. District Judge John Woodcock in sentencing Pitts to send a message to would-be bank robbers so there would be no more victims like her.

Members of Pitts’ family, including her father and sister, sat behind her during the sentencing and urged the judge not to impose too harsh a sentence.

Woodcock also sentenced Pitts to three years of supervised release after she completes her prison term. She was ordered to pay $610 in restitution — the amount that was not recovered of the $1,390 taken from the bank.

Pitts faced up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Under the prevailing federal sentencing guidelines, she faced between three years 10 months and four years nine months behind bars.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel Casey recommended the four-year sentence the judge imposed. Federal Public Defender Virginia Villa urged Woodcock to sentence Pitts to three years in prison.

In handing down the sentence, the judge noted Pitts’ difficult childhood and mental health problems for which she needs regular medication. He also pointed out that she had been convicted of seven crimes in state court in the past decade and still has cases pending in Hancock and Penobscot counties.

“You are a very nice, gentle person when you are on your medications,” Woodcock said. “But when you are off your meds, you’re a terror.”

By pleading guilty, Pitts admitted that she entered Bangor Savings Bank on State Street around 9:30 a.m. July 6, 2010, 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 has not been accounted for.

Pitts has been held without bail since her arrest. That time will be credited to her sentence.

In addition to the federal charge, Pitts is facing forgery charges in Hancock County and an assault charge in Penobscot County that allegedly occurred at the jail shortly after her arrest.

She is expected to be sentenced in those cases within the next several weeks.

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