Suspect tells police he robbed credit union ‘on impulse’

By Christopher Cousins and Judy Harrison, BDN Staff
Posted May 27, 2011, at 2:17 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — The suspect in a brazen robbery at a downtown credit union Wednesday said he committed the crime on impulse after recent trauma in his life, including the death of his wife and the loss of his children.

Thaddeus McDonald, 32, of Augusta, who allegedly stole more than $6,000 from the Penobscot County Federal Credit Union in downtown Bangor, is being held at Penobscot County Jail after a District Court judge on Friday set his bail at $15,000 cash or $50,000 surety. McDonald, who faces charges of Class B robbery and Class C theft by unauthorized taking, entered no pleas to the charges against him.

Just after his arrest, McDonald tried to explain away the wads of cash in his pockets and wallet by telling investigators he had just cashed his “federal check,” but later confessed to Bangor police Detective Tim Cotton that he committed the robbery out of desperation, according to an affidavit written by Cotton and filed in Penobscot County District Court. McDonald allegedly told Cotton he didn’t want to hurt anyone, especially the clerk who he allegedly robbed.

“I had no intention of harming him, it wasn’t like I threatened him,” said McDonald of the clerk. “It wasn’t even like he took me serious.”

The clerk, who was the only credit union employee to witness the robbery, told Bangor police Patrol Officer Brian Smith that at first, he didn’t take McDonald seriously.

According to Smith’s report, McDonald went into the credit union and at first asked for a withdrawal slip. When the clerk asked for an account number, McDonald allegedly said, “How about you give me all the money in that drawer?”

“[The clerk] stated at first that he thought the male was joking and laughed,” wrote Smith. “The male then stated ‘I’m serious.’ [The clerk] realized that he was and started to unload his drawer.”

After the clerk had pulled some of the cash from the drawer, McDonald interrupted him by saying, “that’s good,” before fleeing from the bank and removing a black sweatshirt outside.

Affidavits filed by several Bangor officers explained how McDonald used some of the cash to first secure a room at the Charles Inn and then hired a driver with Town Taxi for a more than $200 ride to Augusta. Based on information from a witness, police stopped the taxi near Mile 180 on I-95 and apprehended McDonald without incident.

McDonald allegedly told officers that he has been “stuck and broke” lately, especially since the recent drug overdose of his wife in Augusta, which led to McDonald losing custody of his four children.

“It was an impulsive decision [to rob the credit union],” McDonald said to Cotton. “I was desperate and it was an impulsive decision, that’s the honest-to-God truth.”

At Cotton’s urging, McDonald wrote an apology to the credit union clerk involved in the robbery.

“I just wanted to take the time to say I am truly sorry for what happened earlier,” wrote McDonald, who told police he is on probation for aggravated forgery and has convictions on his record for burglary and statutory rape.

Bail conditions imposed by Judge Bruce Jordan on Friday included that McDonald not return to the credit union or Pickering Square and have no contact with the victim. McDonald’s next court date is July 12, when he is expected to be arraigned if he is indicted in June by the Penobscot County grand jury.

According to Maine criminal statutes, a charge of Class B robbery indicates that a weapon was not used.

This was the second time this year that the Penobscot County Federal Credit Union has been robbed. The bank, with an entrance that is almost hidden underneath the Merchants Plaza building, was robbed on Jan. 18 as well.

Donovan W. Steen Jr., 20, of Bangor later pleaded guilty to robbery charges associated with that incident and was sentenced to 42 months in prison.

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/05/27/news/bangor/bail-set-at-15000-cash-for-man-charged-in-bangor-credit-union-robbery/ printed on September 22, 2014