WATERVILLE — A man armed with a knife robbed a city credit union Thursday afternoon and escaped with an undisclosed amount of money, police said.

No one was injured during the robbery, which happened about 3:30 p.m. at HealthFirst Federal Credit Union at 9 Quarry Road.

The small credit union is surrounded by a vast network of wooded trails next to MaineGeneral Medical Center’s Thayer Campus on North Street.

By Thursday night, police had not found any sign of the robber and didn’t know whether he fled on foot or in a vehicle.

Police said the robbery was notable for its speed — the robber got away quickly. But officers responded quickly, too.

“The whole robbery took no more than a minute; there were no other customers in the credit union at the time,” Waterville Police Chief Joseph Massey said. “We immediately deployed every single unit we had to cordon off that whole area. We were on the scene very, very quickly and we had a fairly significant area pretty well covered, but he was in and out of there so quick that, even though we responded so quickly, we just don’t know if there was a car in the parking lot.”

The robber was described as a white man, about 6 feet tall, weighing 145 to 160 pounds, with blue or hazel eyes, wearing a dark blue hooded sweatshirt, jeans and white sneakers. He had the teller put the money in a tan, draw-string bag with indiscernible lettering on it, Massey said. According to a video security photo released by police, the robber was also wearing a dark cloth that covered most of his face, except for his eyes.

Massey said he and Deputy Chief Charles Rumsey were on Upper Main Street when the robbery was reported, so they were able to quickly search a trail that connects the credit union with Home Depot and Walmart. Other city police officers scoured nearby trails, parking lots and roads.

Maine State Police K-9 units arrived on scene as well, but tracking dogs couldn’t pinpoint the robber’s escape route, Massey said. A tracking dog and state trooper could be seen running along the woods surrounding the credit union and along the road, which leads to the city-owned Quarry Road Recreation Area.

“We walked that whole trail down to where it comes out close to the credit union,” Massey said. “But, again, it’s a lot of wooded area out there and a lot of trails. So, if he was on foot, we’d have to be very lucky to find him.”

Massey said police detectives will continued to investigate and distribute information about the robbery to other police agencies.

It was the fourth bank robbery in central Maine in the last two months.

The Down East Credit Union at 58 School St. in Unity was robbed July 29, the Winslow Community Federal Credit Union at 12 Monument St. was robbed Aug. 11 and the Bangor Savings Bank on Capitol Street in Augusta was robbed Aug. 22. Police have not yet arrested anyone in connection with those cases.

“There have been a number of bank robberies in the central Maine area, and all this makes us wonder,” Massey said.

Police asked that anyone with information on the robbery to call the Waterville Police Department at 680-4700.

Scott Monroe — 861-9239

[email protected]