South Portland man who allegedly robbed bank with gun stolen from detective charged in federal court

Posted June 06, 2013, at 11:24 a.m.
Last modified June 09, 2013, at 8:06 p.m.
Joseph Morrill
Joseph Morrill

PORTLAND, Maine — A South Portland man who allegedly robbed a bank in April with a gun stolen last year from the car of a Cumberland County sheriff’s detective made his first appearance Wednesday in U.S. District Court.

Joseph Morrill, 23, was charged with the April 22 robbery of a TD Bank branch in South Portland of more than $5,600. He agreed to be held without bail but did not enter a plea because he has not yet been indicted by a federal grand jury.

Morrill originally was charged in state court with robbery. He has been held at the Cumberland County Jail unable to make bail since his arrest the same day of the robbery.

The .40 caliber Glock handgun and a Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office badge were among the items reported stolen Sept. 21 from the vehicle of a detective in South Portland, according to the affidavit filed Wednesday in federal court. The document did not say whether the car was the detective’s personal vehicle or belonged to Cumberland County.

The affidavit also does not state whether the gun was recovered when Morrill was arrested less than 5½ hours after the robbery. Assistant U.S. Attorney Darcie McElwee, who is prosecuting the case, declined Thursday to comment on information not included in the affidavit.

Morrill allegedly walked into the bank on Market Street in South Portland about 5:30 p.m., pointed the stolen gun at the teller and demanded money. He fled on foot out the back door of the building, according to the affidavit.

With the help a K-9 team, the robber’s scent was traced to “an area of bushes behind the bank surrounded by a small patch of grass, behind an adjacent building on Ocean Street,” the affidavit said. There, officers found a cellphone, a cigarette butt and an indentation in the grass that appeared to be the tracks of a bicycle leading away from the bank.

The police located Morrill at a friend’s house after tracing incoming calls to the phone found behind the bank, according to the affidavit. Investigators also found a text message on Morrill’s phone to the friend at whose home he was found that references Morrill’s having the gun and his plan to rob the bank.

If convicted, Morrill faces up to 25 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000. He also could be ordered to pay restitution to the bank for any of the stolen money that was not recovered.

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