May 21, 2018
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Oakland man pleads guilty to robbing Skowhegan credit union in 2009

By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — Paul J. Garland of Oakland pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court to robbing a Skowhegan credit union nearly three years ago.

Garland, 27, and Forrest T. “Teddy” Goodwin Jr., 33, of Fairfield were indicted in November by a federal grand jury in connection with a robbery at knifepoint at the Taconnet Federal Credit Union, located on U.S. Route 201, on June 10, 2009.

Goodwin is scheduled to go on trial for his alleged role in the crime in June.

Two men, wearing hooded sweatshirts and sunglasses, arrived at the credit union about 10:30 a.m. on a motorcycle, according to court documents.

Garland went inside and demanded money, according to court documents. He was initially calm, but a teller noticed a bit later that he was “agitated.”

“[Garland] came to the counter and [the teller] noticed that he had a knife in his hand,” according to the version of events to which Garland pleaded guilty. “The male told her to put all the money in the bag, which she noticed was a white, plastic shopping bag with red writing. As [the teller] was putting the money in the bag, the male banged on the counter with the knife and started yelling, ‘Faster, faster.’ After [the teller] put all the money in the bag, the male turned and left the building.”

Garland and Goodwin escaped on the motorcycle with $9,147, according to court documents.

About two hours after the robbery, the motorcycle was found by police behind the residence where Garland was staying, according to court documents. The license plates on the motorcycle were from another vehicle.

On June 11, 2009, Garland fled the state without any luggage and stayed with a friend in Valparaiso, Ind., into mid-August, according to court documents. While there, he paid cash for motels, food and entertainment.

Information about when Garland returned to Maine was not available in court documents. He was arrested in August in the Damariscotta area on state drug and other charges, according to Geoffrey Rushlau, district attorney for Lincoln County. He was being held at the Two Bridges Regional Jail unable to make bail on those charges when he was indicted Nov. 17 by a federal grand jury for the credit union robbery.

Garland is scheduled to go on trial in Lincoln County Superior Court in August. He also is facing charges in Kennebec County of receiving stolen property in connection with the theft of copper from Central Maine Power Co., according to Alan Kelley, acting district attorney for Kennebec County.
A court date has not been set.

If convicted in federal court of the credit union robbery, each man faces up to 25 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Garland faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000 on the state charges.

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