BRATTLEBORO -- A New Hampshire man pleaded guilty on Tuesday to grand larceny stemming from a holdup months ago at a Vermont bank.
At a pre-trial conference at Windham Superior Court: Criminal Division, Gerald J. Clough, of Swanzey, N.H., admitted to playing a role in the Feb. 28 robbery of the People's United Bank in Bellows Falls. Clough, 30, and another man, Chad Dustin of Keene, N.H., were accused of stealing more than $6,000 from the bank at 81 Atkinson St. after calling in a false bomb threat to Bellows Falls Union High School as a diversion tactic.
He also pleaded guilty to a charge related to the false bomb threat.
Clough, who was previously convicted of three felonies, was in a New
He also entered a no contest plea relating to the Feb. 26 robbery of a Gulf station in Brattleboro.
Dustin, who was arrested a few weeks later in Pepperell, Mass., is facing trial.
Clough's guilty plea, coupled with an Habitual Offender Enhancement, means he could serve the potential maximum sentence of life imprisonment, according to Windham County State's Attorney David Gartenstein.
According to a police affidavit, two white males wearing disguises entered People's United Bank and demanded the teller fill a plastic garbage bag with money. The men did not display a weapon.
The teller filled the bag with cash and the subjects fled the scene on foot. One of the
The pair made off with $6,136. According to the affidavit, $2,700 of the money was in $1 bills.
During the ensuing investigation, Vermont State Police Det. Sgt. John Hagen and Bellows Falls Police Officer Christine Jordan were approached by a woman while they canvassed the Bellows Falls area. She said her sister was in a relationship with a man she suspected of committing the robbery. The woman said her sister's boyfriend, Clough, was convicted of robbing a New Hampshire bank in 2007.
Vermont State Police Det. Sgt. Francis LaBombard, who filed the affidavit, stated he met the woman's sister in early March. She said she had been dating Clough for a year and was with him on Feb. 27, when he started planning the heist.
The woman said she drove to Keene with Clough to pick up Dustin, whom she said met Clough when they were cellmates in New Hampshire. She said she then drove the two men back to Bellows Falls, where they discussed their plan to rob the bank. She said they planned their escape routes and then dropped her off at her residence. Clough then reportedly took Dustin back to Keene.
Clough's girlfriend said the two men planned to enter the bank at 1 p.m., though they did not start the robbery until 3:05. Clough told his girlfriend he did not need a weapon because he could get the money just by demanding it.
Once the subjects got the money, they planned to leave in different directions and get to a waiting vehicle on Green Street. She said they made a plan to drive over the bridge to Walpole, N.H., and contact Clough's girlfriend at a later time. She said the men planned to drive to Lawrence, Mass., with the money to purchase crack cocaine and heroin.
The day of the robbery, Clough called his girlfriend and asked her to scope out the bank and tell him how many tellers were working, which she did.
Clough also asked the woman to place a decoy 911 call in order to divert members of the Bellows Falls Police Department to another area. She was then told Dustin would make the call, telling the 911 operator that three subjects with guns were heading toward the high school.
A 911 call indicating three armed subjects were headed to BFUHS was received at 2:16 p.m. the day of the robbery.
According to the woman, she met Clough at a Cumberland Farms Store around 1 p.m. and gave him $10 for gas. She later got a call asking her to leave the vehicle on Green Street.
Clough's girlfriend told LaBombard she has not seen him since the robbery but has talked to him over the telephone. She said he had told her he stole $27,000 from the bank, but she didn't believe him because he often does not tell the truth.
She told LaBombard that Clough was staying in a hotel in Claremont, N.H., and was too paranoid to return to Vermont. She said Clough was going to wire her money to pay her cell phone bill and to visit him.
LaBombard and Vermont State Police Det. Sgt. John Merrigan met with Clough to interview him at the Cheshire County Correctional Facility in New Hampshire on Wednesday, March 6. Clough was incarcerated on criminal charges pending an arrest by the New Hampshire State Police the day before.
Clough told LaBombard and Merrigan that he and Dustin drove to Nashua, N.H., after robbing the bank. While they were there, they stayed at a Motel 6 and divvied up the money. He said they stayed in Nashua for two days and made trips to Lawrence, Mass., to pick up drugs. Clough told police he spent all the money he stole from the bank.