Brattleboro bank robber pleads guilty, could spend 15 years in prison
BRATTLEBORO >> A man accused of robbing People's United Bank in December 2015 could spend up to 15 years in jail after he pleaded guilty on Thursday in federal court in Burlington.
Matthew Martin, 32, from the Springfield area of Vermont, was a suspect in multiple bank robberies as well as a pharmacy in Bellows Falls. He surrendered to law enforcement in late December 2015 after the U.S. Marshals Service publicly named him a "Fugitive of the Week" based on outstanding arrest warrants and his ongoing crime spree.
In total, Martin pleaded guilty to eight charges of robbery. In addition to the robbery in Brattleboro, Martin also pleaded guilty to robbing Heritage Family Credit Union in Ludlow on Dec. 21, 2015; Windsor County South Credit Union in Springfield on Jan. 28, 2015; a gas station in Ludlow on Feb. 7, 2015; Citizens Bank in Springfield on Feb. 17; Greater Falls Pharmacy in Bellows Falls on Nov. 11, 2015; Mascoma Savings Bank in Charlestown, N.H., on Dec. 1, 2015; and TD Bank North in Loudon, N.H., on Dec. 4, 2015.
In the Brattleboro robbery, Martin used a BB gun that resembled a firearm and a device he said was a bomb. When robbing this bank, as in some of his other robberies, Martin disguised himself as a woman, making it harder for law enforcement to identify him. He left the bank with $3,791.
Martin told investigators his drug habit fueled his crime spree. If the court accepts Martin's plea agreement, he will serve 15 years in federal detention.
He was originally charged by the state with assault and robbery, larceny from person and putting a hoax explosive device in a building. All three counts each carried a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. State charges against Martin were dropped after the federal government took over the case.
"Any time there is a robbery of a federally insured bank, it's a violation of federal and state law," United States Attorney Eric Miller told the Reformer at the time Martin turned himself in. "We have the jurisdiction to prosecute virtually any bank robbery in the state. We try to make smart resource allocation decisions in close cooperation with state attorneys who have primary responsibility for prosecutions in the state."
The collaborative team that investigated the crimes committed by Martin included federal, state, and local law enforcement agents, including agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the U.S. Marshals Service; the Vermont State Police; the New Hampshire State Police; and the police departments of Brattleboro, Springfield, Ludlow, and Bellows Falls.
In addition to the agents that investigated Martin's crimes, Miller also thanked law enforcement partners at the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Hampshire; the Windsor County State's Attorney's Office; the Windham County State's Attorney's Office; the County Attorney's Office in Sullivan County, New Hampshire; and the County Attorney's Office in Merrimack County, New Hampshire, for their cooperation in helping reach a resolution that will result in Martin pleading guilty to each of these crimes and spending significant time in federal prison for his violent crimes across multiple jurisdictions.
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