Monday November 26, 2012

BRATTLEBORO -- A third suspect has returned to Vermont to face charges in connection with a February bank robbery in Bellows Falls.

Amber Monty, 32, is charged with aiding in the commission of a felony in the robbery of People’s United Bank on Atkinson Street.

An arrest warrant had been issued for Monty in May. But Windham County prosecutors had been waiting for her release from a New Hampshire prison where Monty had been held on unrelated charges.

"When she qualified for release in New Hampshire, she waived formal extradition proceedings and was returned to Vermont," said David Gartenstein, a Windham County deputy state’s attorney.

Monty, of Bellows Falls, pleaded not guilty at her Nov. 9 arraignment in Windham Superior Court Criminal Division. Her case was discussed at a Nov. 21 scheduling conference.

Unless there is a plea agreement, "she is due back in court in February," Gartenstein said.

Investigators said two white males wearing masks entered the bank on the afternoon of Feb. 28 and demanded that a teller fill a plastic bag with cash. They did not display a weapon but made off with $6,136, court documents show.

Police said $2,700 of that total was in $1 bills.

The duo later was identified as Gerald J. Clough, of Swanzey, N.H., and Chad Dustin of Keene, N.H.

Clough pleaded guilty last month to grand larceny and is awaiting sentencing. Dustin is facing trial.


Advertisement

Clough was Monty’s boyfriend, and police became familiar with her early in the robbery investigation: Court papers say Monty’s sister approached investigators as they were canvassing the Bellows Falls area.

Several days later, Monty met with Bellows Falls police and told them "she was in fear of Clough and wanted to disclose information regarding the bank robbery," according to a court affidavit.

Police said Monty assisted the robbers in several ways:

* The night before, she drove to Keene with Clough to pick up Dustin and "was present while they discussed their plan to rob the People’s United Bank," the affidavit says.

The three also canvassed the area, police said.

* The morning of the robbery, Clough called Monty and told her to "scope out" the bank and see how many tellers were working. She did so, just after 11 a.m., with her son in tow, police said.

* Around 1 p.m., Monty met with Clough at a Cumberland Farms store and gave him $10 for gas, police said. She also advised him that he could park the getaway car on Green Street "without any issues," court papers say.

Clough also asked Monty to place a decoy 911 call to divert Bellows Falls police during the robbery. She declined.

At 2:16 p.m. the day of the robbery, there was a 911 call falsely alleging that three armed suspects were heading toward Bellows Falls Union High School. Clough has pleaded guilty to a charge related to that call.

Monty remains incarcerated at Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility in lieu of $25,000 bond.

She also is charged with a felony count of assault and robbery in a separate case: Two days before the Bellows Falls bank robbery, police say Monty robbed a Gulf service station at 414 Canal St. in Brattleboro.

Court papers say Clough, after his arrest in connection with the bank robbery, told police that Monty robbed the convenience store.

Monty subsequently told police that she did so at Clough’s urging, saying the couple "needed some money because they were both dope sick (heroin)," an affidavit says.

Monty also told police that Clough "told her that if she loved him, then she would do this" and threatened to "make her life and her kid’s life a living hell" if she didn’t commit the robbery.

She and Clough drove around and ended up in Brattleboro, noticing at the Gulf station "that there weren’t any customers and there was an alleyway next to it," police said.

According to the affidavit, audio surveillance from the store recorded this exchange between a clerk and the robber: "This is a robbery. I have a gun. Give me everything in the register. This is not a joke. Give me everything. Empty it."

Police say Monty admitted to the robbery but denied she had a gun. She told police the robbery netted about $476, which she gave to Clough.

Clough last month pleaded no contest to aiding in the commission of the robbery.

Mike Faher can be reached at mfaher@reformer.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 275.