FREEPORT

Two New Hampshire residents face up to 25 years in prison for a string of bank robberies that took place in Freeport, Portland and Lewiston, as well as in their home state, last summer.

In a news release, United States Attorney Thomas E. Delahanty II announced that Crystal Dufault, 33, and Joseph Richards, 46, both of Manchester, New Hampshire, pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court to armed bank robbery and conspiracy to commit armed bank robbery.

The charges arise from the Aug. 3, 2015 armed bank robbery of Norway Savings Bank in Freeport by Richards; the Aug. 14, 2015 armed bank robbery of Franklin Savings Bank, in Franklin, New Hampshire by Dufault and Richards; the Sept. 4, 2015 armed bank robbery of University Credit Union in Portland by Dufault and Richards; and the Sept. 12, 2015 armed bank robbery of TD Bank in Lewiston, by Richards.

Delahanty’s release states that, “according to court documents, a pellet gun was brandished during each of the robberies and the robber( s) absconded with $5,854 from Norway Savings Bank; $9,887 from Franklin Savings

Bank; $12,308 from University Credit Union; and $9,888 from TD Bank.”

In addition to time in prison, the two face a $250,000 fine on each charge.

The defendants will be sentenced after completion of a pre-sentence investigation report prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.

The joint investigation was conducted by the Franklin and Manchester, New Hampshire Police Departments; the Freeport, Portland, Lewiston, Old Orchard Beach and Saco 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.

Delahanty praised the cooperation among these law enforcement agencies noting that “these armed bank robberies were quickly solved because local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies across two states worked closely together.”



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