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Suspect in robbery of credit union branch in Bangor pleads not guilty

Posted March 10, 2011, at 1:42 p.m.
Last modified March 10, 2011, at 2:20 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — The 20-year-old man accused of robbing a downtown credit union Jan. 18 pleaded not guilty to robbery and three other charges Tuesday but is scheduled to be back in court later this month to change his pleas.

Police said Donovan W. Steen Jr., 20, of Bangor robbed the Bangor branch of the Penobscot County Federal Credit Union at 1 Merchants Plaza just before it closed on Jan. 18. He was charged with felony robbery, misdemeanor theft by unauthorized taking and violation of conditions of release.

“His lawyer wants to look at the videotape from the bank,” Greg Campbell, assistant district attorney for Penobscot County, said to Steen’s mother just before his arraignment Thursday morning. “He’s trying to be thorough.”

Steen entered the courtroom at the Penobscot Judicial Center wearing a jailhouse orange jumpsuit and stood beside his court-appointed attorney,  William Bart of Bangor, during the short court appearance Thursday.

He pleaded not guilty to robbery, theft and violating his bail conditions in connection with the Jan. 18 bank robbery. Steen, who was arrested Jan. 7 in Bangor on a felony theft charge after allegedly stealing more than $4,000 worth of jewelry and other goods from his mother, also pleaded not guilty Thursday to that charge.

His mother and other family members and friends sat in the front row of the courtroom Thursday.

Bart requested a future court date so he could have time to review the evidence against Steen. District Court Judge Jessie B. Gunther set March 21 as the date his client must return to the courtroom.

“At that time he will change his pleas,” Bart said.

During the credit union heist, the robber, dressed in a white long-sleeve sweatshirt with “Billabong” written on it, black sunglasses, black gloves and a black hat, handed a teller a note demanding $1,000 in cash and told her “not to call anyone, as he had a gun,” police have said.

Bank surveillance images were released, and police said they received several calls, including one from Steen’s mother, who identified Steen as the person in the video images.

Steen was arrested Jan. 19 after being interviewed by investigators, who also have physical evidence, including his shoes, connecting him to the robbery. When confronted with the bank video image during that interview, Steen admitted that he was on it, court documents state.

Bangor police Sgt. Bob Bishop has said that Steen grew up in Bangor and recently returned to his hometown after a stay in Texas.

Steen’s Facebook page says he graduated from Bangor High School in 2008 and most recently was employed at an Olive Garden restaurant in Fort Worth, Texas. Before that he worked for Microdyne Outsourcing in Orono and at Shaw’s and Burger King in Bangor.

Steen is being held without bail at the Penobscot County Jail. As Steen was led from the courtroom on Thursday, he mouthed the word “bye” to the 10 relatives and friends who were there to support him.

If convicted on the robbery charge, he faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000. He faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000 if convicted of stealing from his mother.

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