November 15, 2012

Alleged Portland bank robber captured in Ohio

By David Hench dhench@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

An Ohio man accused of robbing a bank 700 miles away in Portland on Tuesday took a bus back to his home state almost immediately after the crime but was still in custody within 36 hours, according to a court document.

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This surveillance photo shows Richard D. Gooding, the man Portland Police say robbed the Bangor Savings Bank branch on Brighton Avenue Tuesday morning.

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Richard D. Gooding's big mistake was using his Ohio cellphone to arrange his getaway, a taxicab to the bus station, according to a complaint filed in federal court. But it was the alert cab driver who helped put Portland police on Gooding's trail.

Just after 9 a.m. Tuesday, a man with a knit cap, goatee and a distinctive "ECKO 72" zip-up shirt threatened a clerk at the Bangor Savings Bank branch on Brighton Avenue and made off with about $1,500, carrying it in what looked like a bread bag from a Shaw's supermarket, witnesses told police Tuesday.

Minutes later, a heavyset man wearing different clothing used an Ohio cell phone to summon a cab to the corner of Brighton and Kent Street and asked to be driven to the Greyhound bus terminal, according to the complaint filed by FBI Special Agent Christopher Peavey.

The man told the cab driver he was from Youngstown, Ohio. He also was a generous tipper, paying a $9 fare with a $20 bill and telling the driver to keep the change.

Meanwhile, a police dog followed a scent trail from the bank to a pile of clothing, which included the ECKO 72 shirt, that had been left alongside a nearby building. The trail continued to Cabot Street, which is close to Kent Street and about four-tenths of a mile from the bank.

The cab driver had heard about the robbery on the radio and he contacted police, though he wasn't sure his burly customer was the person they were looking for.

Portland police checked with the Greyhound terminal on Congress Street and learned that a man named Gooding had bought a one-way ticket to Youngstown, paying $148 in cash. The bus had been scheduled to leave at 1 p.m. Tuesday and arrive in Youngstown at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Police also canvassed local hotels and learned that Richard Gooding had checked into Motel 6 on Riverside Street, which is also about four-tenths of a mile from the bank branch, on Nov. 8 and was scheduled to check out Nov. 13. Security video from the hotel showed that Gooding resembled the man on the bank security video, the complaint said.

On Wednesday morning, FBI agents were waiting for Gooding in Youngstown, but he didn't get off the bus. However, he arrived at his apartment in Lisbon, Ohio, at about noon and was arrested, according to press reports. The affidavit doesn't explain how or when he got off the bus and arrived in Lisbon, which is about 35 miles away from Youngstown.

Gooding is scheduled to make an initial appearance in federal court in Ohio within a few days, and then be transferred to Maine to face bank robbery charges.

The case was investigated by the Portland Police Department and the Southern Maine Gang Task Force, which includes investigators from several agencies.

Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

dhench@pressherald.com

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