Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Contact: Michael J. Conley
Assistant United States Attorney
Tel: (207) 780-3257
Portland, Maine: United States Attorney Thomas E. Delahanty II announced that Joseph Richards, 47, of Manchester, New Hampshire, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court by Chief Judge Nancy Torresen to 15 years in prison and five years of supervised release for armed bank robbery. The charges arose from the August 3, 2015 armed bank robbery of Norway Savings Bank (NSB) in Freeport, Maine; the August 14, 2015 armed bank robbery of Franklin Savings Bank (FSB) in Franklin, New Hampshire; the September 4, 2015 armed bank robbery of University Credit Union (UCU) in Portland; and the September 12, 2015 armed bank robbery of TD Bank (TDB) in Lewiston, Maine.
According to court records, the defendant used a pellet gun in each robbery and absconded with $5,854 from NSB, $13,240 from FSB, $12,308 from UCU and $9,888 from TDB. At the time of the robberies, the defendant was on federal supervised release for a 2003 federal bank robbery conviction in New Hampshire, for which he received a 12½ year sentence.
On July 28, 2016, one of Richards’ co-conspirators, Neil West, Sr., of Portland, Maine, was found guilty following a jury trial in U.S. District Court of armed bank robbery and conspiracy to commit bank robbery arising out of the UCU and TDB robberies. West served as the getaway driver for both robberies. The TD Bank robbery resulted in a high-speed chase which culminated in Saco. Following the chase, West and Richards were arrested.
Before imposing sentence, Chief Judge Torresen stated the seriousness of these offenses is impossible to overstate. People’s lives were put at risk. The emotional harm that the tellers suffered will last a lifetime.
The joint investigation was conducted by the Franklin (New Hampshire), Manchester (New Hampshire), Freeport, Portland, Lewiston, Old Orchard Beach and Saco (Maine) Police Departments; the Maine State Police; and the Southern Maine Gang Task Force comprised of agents and officers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations; and the Portland, South Portland, Lewiston and Biddeford Police Departments.