A Bangor man was sentenced remotely Friday to three years and one month in federal prison for robbing a credit union located in the region’s largest hospital last summer.
Earl R. Torrence Jr., 44, pleaded guilty in February to one count of bank robbery in U.S. District Court in Bangor.
His motive for robbing the Acadia Federal Credit Union branch inside Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center was a debt he owed to a drug dealer, according to information in the presentence report prepared by U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services.
In addition to prison time, U.S. District Judge John Woodcock sentenced Torrence to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay $1,950 in restitution.
Torrence, who moved to Maine in 2018, apologized for the robbery.
“It was a selfish act,” he told the judge on a Zoom video call from the Somerset County Jail in East Madison. “I am very sorry for the lady in the bank. I never would never have caused her any harm.”
Woodcock said that the site of the robbery “could not have been worse.” The judge described the hospital as “one of the busiest places in Bangor” with doctors, nurses, support staff and members of the public going in and out of the building almost constantly throughout the day.
Woodcock also urged Torrence to continue to address his addiction to crack cocaine and heroin while in prison and on probation. The judge also encouraged Torrence to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Wearing a surgical mask and a gray sweatshirt, Torrence entered the credit union branch at about 11:30 a.m. on June 30, 2020, according to court documents.
Torrence handed a teller a note that said he had a gun and demanded money, but he did not display a weapon.
The teller gave Torrence $1,950 in $20 and $50 bills, and he left the credit union.
Torrence was identified by security footage from the hospital lobby because he entered without wearing a mask, according to court documents. Police arrested him a few hours later at his residence near Judy’s restaurant on State Street, Bangor police said last year.
All but $820 of the stolen money was recovered from Torrence, who said that he spent the money on drugs.
Torrence, who has been incarcerated since his arrest, was taken into custody the same day as the robbery with Corey Violette, 29, of Bangor and charged with robbery, according to Bangor police. Torrence was charged in federal court in September.
Violette was charged in state court with robbery but the case was dismissed in August by the Penobscot County district attorney’s office.
Torrence, who has a history of drug convictions, faced up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000. The U.S. attorney’s office, which prosecuted the case, recommended the sentence imposed and Torrence’s defense attorney urged Woodcock to impose a sentence of 2½ years.