Maine citizens, officers honored for roles in solving major robbery, child porn cases

Posted April 14, 2011, at 2:01 p.m.
Last modified April 14, 2011, at 11:11 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Richard Robichaud thought the heavy-set man carrying a bag and scurrying across the lawn of the bank he passed July 13 on his way to work looked suspicious.

It wasn’t until he arrived at his workplace — the Orono Housing Foundation, located not far from Bangor Savings Bank on U.S. Route 2 — and heard sirens that Robichaud, of Old Town, realized the man he saw might not have been a bank customer. On the advice of a co-worker, Robichaud went back to the bank and told police what he had seen.

Robichaud’s was the first of three separate tips that led to the arrest and conviction of a Massachusetts man who robbed a dozen banks in seven states, including Maine, Thomas E. Delahanty II, Maine’s U.S. attorney, said Thursday.

“As the robber’s crimes mounted, federal, state and local law enforcement agencies throughout the Northeast became increasingly frustrated by the inability to positively identify and catch the perpetrator,” the state’s top federal prosecutor said. “Sophisticated surveillance cameras and other advanced investigative techniques seemed to be no match for this wily bank robber. Then the ‘Burly Bandit’ made the mistake of coming to Maine.”

Robichaud, Penny Bostwick of Kenduskeag and Joshua Parda of Bangor were honored Thursday at Delahanty’s office in the Margaret Chase Smith Federal Building.

Delahanty presented certificates to the awardees to mark National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, which commemorates the passage of the Crime Victims’ Rights Act by Congress in 2004. Individuals who provided information in and investigated three major cases prosecuted in federal court in Bangor were in attendance.

The defendants, all of whom have been sentenced, were Robert Ferguson, aka the “Burly Bandit”; James Cameron, a former state prosecutor; and Julie Carr, a mother from Mars Hill.

Bostwick, a clerk at a local motel, called police after she recognized Ferguson, a regular customer, from a surveillance photo released to Bangor news outlets. She was unable to attend Thursday’s ceremony due to a death in the family.

Parda, who works at the University of Maine and the U-Haul Rental store in Bangor where Ferguson rented a truck, told investigators he remembered seeing the truck at the bank as he left campus and he was working when Ferguson returned it.

Cameron and Carr were convicted on child pornography charges in unrelated cases. Delahanty honored the Maine State Police Computer Crimes Unit and officers for their investigative work. In addition, he presented a plaque to members of the Child Online Safeguarding Team in West Midlands, England, for their work on the Carr case. A computer seized in the U.K. led to Carr’s arrest in Maine.

At a similar ceremony in Portland, Delahanty honored former Maine Attorney General Janet T. Mills, former Commissioner of Public Safety Anne H. Jordan, Director of the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency Roy McKinney, Resident Agent-in-Charge of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration Michael W. Wardrop and Biddeford Police Chief Roger Beaupre for their leadership roles in Maine’s effort to reduce the incidents of prescription drug diversion and abuse.

In January, Delahanty announced an agreement that has allowed federal law enforcement authorities to assist local agencies in the investigation of pharmacy robberies. The individuals honored were involved in forging that agreement, he said Thursday.

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