Wednesday, December 11, 2013
By Eric Russell firstname.lastname@example.org
Normally, when South Portland police Detective Sgt. Steve Webster distributes pictures of a criminal suspect, he's flooded with calls the next day.
Police are trying to identify this woman seen on videotape robbing the TD Bank on Maine Mall Road.
When he sent out images of a woman who robbed a bank near the Maine Mall on Thursday, he got nothing.
"I don't think we've had one call," Webster said Friday. "That's pretty unusual."
Police believe that a woman in her early to mid-20s robbed the TD Bank on Maine Mall Road around 7 p.m. Thursday. She didn't show a weapon but implied that she had one, police said. She left with an undisclosed amount of cash.
Bank employees told police that the woman got into the passenger side of a white SUV that was parked nearby. An image from a security camera shows the woman wearing a gray hooded Gap sweatshirt and a New York Yankees baseball cap.
"Her picture has been out there quite a bit, so the fact that we haven't had any tips leads me to believe that she may not be from around here," Webster said. "We've sent photos to agencies in nearby states. At this point, there's not much we can do unless someone helps identify her, except pray she doesn't do it again."
Bank robberies involving women are rare but have occurred more frequently in recent years. Of the more than 6,000 known suspects in bank robberies nationwide in 2011, fewer than 500 were women -- about 1 in 12, according to the FBI. In 2002, about 1 in 20 bank robberies were committed by women.
Donald Clark with the U.S. Attorney's Office in Maine, which prosecutes federal crimes including bank robberies, said he hasn't noticed an increasing trend of female bank robbers in this state.
Maine ranks among the states with the lowest rates of bank robberies, usually fewer than a dozen each year, according to the FBI.
In 2010, there were 11 reported robberies. In 2011, there were only three. The FBI data did not provide a breakdown of male and female suspects by state, so it's not clear how many bank robberies in Maine have been committed by women.
Webster said South Portland police have responded to several bank robberies over the last few years, but he couldn't remember another one involving a woman.
There have been a handful of recent cases in Maine.
• Last month, Roxanne Esty, 36, of Gorham was charged with robbing a bank in Conway, N.H.
• In February, police say, Paul Sans, 29, and Maria Mattson, 30, of Westbrook were charged with robbing a bank in Lewiston.
• In July 2010, a Bangor woman surrendered to police shortly after she robbed a bank downtown and fled in a waiting taxi. Matisha Pitts, 26, was sentenced early last year to four years in prison.
• In May 2010, a woman robbed a bank in Portland and fled in car. That robbery was not solved.
• And in April 2010, a York woman was arrested in connection with a string of bank robberies. Bethany Colson, 22, was one of four suspects suspected of robbing banks in southern New Hampshire; she was the only woman involved.
Anyone who may have seen the woman who was involved in Thursday's bank robbery in South Portland is asked to contact Detective Chris Todd at 799-5511, extension 7448.
Staff Writer Eric Russell can be contacted at 791-6344 or at: