An investigator’s report details the roughly 24 hours between the robbery of Camden National Bank in Waldoboro on July 17 and the arrest of a Newcastle man in connection with the robbery the next day.
Local law enforcement credits strong cooperation between agencies for the swift apprehension of the suspect, who was convicted of attempting to rob the same bank in March 2012.
Carroll B. Demmons, 46, of Newcastle, faces a single count of class B robbery, according to court documents. A class B crime carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
Demmons remains in custody at Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset with bail set at $50,000 cash.
An affidavit by Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Detective Sgt. Ronald Rollins details the investigation.
On Monday afternoon, a man entered the bank wearing a nylon stocking over his face, a brown felt hat “shaped like a straw hat,” and a “big green coat with a lighter-colored collar,” according to the affidavit, which cites surveillance footage and witness descriptions.
The man passed a note to a teller saying “put the money in the bag quietly and swiftly,” according to the affidavit.
The bank tellers were afraid the man would pull a gun. “The teller was asked why she (thought) he would pull a gun,” Rollins said in the affidavit. “She stated because he made a gesture with his hand and pointed at her like he had a gun.”
The man left with $3,125 in cash. He exited by the front door, which he had propped open with “small tree limb pieces,” according to the affidavit. Surveillance video showed him walk by the front of the building and cut across the parking lot to the woods.
The bank reported the robbery at 2:21 p.m.
A Maine State Police K-9 unit tracked the man into the woods to a Central Maine Power Co. substation, where the dog circled “but did not locate anyone or anything,” according to the affidavit.
Investigators interviewed a series of witnesses who placed a distinctive car at the substation around the time of the robbery.
Witnesses who saw the car from the driver’s side described it as gray, while those who saw it from the passenger side described it as gold. Two witnesses described it as having a hood of a third color. Two called it an “older model in rough shape” and all four described it as a four-door car.
A resident of a home across the street said the car had been parked at the substation since around 9 a.m. Another man said he saw a man come out of the woods and get into the car just before police arrived at the bank.
After a meeting with other investigators from the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office and the Waldoboro Police Department the day after the robbery, Rollins decided to look up the man convicted of an abortive robbery attempt at the same bank in 2012.
“I did not have anything specifically assigned to me, so on a hunch, I went to see where Carroll Demmons was living and what he was driving,” Rollins said in the affidavit.
On March 7, 2012, a man wearing a hood and a ski mask ran toward the bank. Bank employees quickly locked the doors and the man fled.
An employee of Borealis Breads in Waldoboro told police she saw Demmons walk into the woods toward the bank with a duffle bag shortly before the robbery, according to an affidavit in the 2012 case by then-Waldoboro Police Detective Lance Mitchell.
Camden National Bank, the CMP substation, and Borealis Breads are next to each other on the same side of Route 1 in Waldoboro. Going north from the bank, the bank is on the left, then the substation, then Borealis Breads near the intersection of Routes 1 and 220. Woods separate the three neighbors.
Police executed a search warrant at Demmons’ home, then in Waldoboro, late the same day, and Demmons confessed to the attempt.
“Mr. Demmons told me he was relieved (the back door of the bank) was locked,” Mitchell said in the affidavit. “When he realized he wouldn’t be able to enter the back door, he fled back into the woods, to his vehicle, which was parked in the Moody’s Diner parking lot.” Moody’s Diner is across Route 1 from Borealis Breads.
Demmons pleaded guilty to class B robbery Sept. 28, 2012, according to court documents. He was sentenced to six years in custody with all but seven months suspended, plus three years of probation.
Demmons had since moved to an apartment in the Homeport Supply building at 597 Route 1 in Newcastle, near the corner of Route 1 and Sheepscot Road.
Upon arriving at the building Tuesday, Rollins found a car similar to witnesses’ descriptions of the car that had been at the power station Monday.
The driver’s side was “beat up” and gray, the passenger side was gold, and the hood was a darker color than the rest of the car, Rollins said. As in the descriptions, the car was in rough shape, with a dent in the driver’s side door and damage to the front bumper.
A registration check came back to Demmons.
Rollins spoke to Demmons’ landlord, who said she had been attempting to evict Demmons because he hadn’t been paying his rent. She had been surprised when he paid $770 in cash late Monday afternoon.
While still at Homeport Supply, Rollins saw Demmons come out of his apartment and get into his car. Rollins approached Demmons and noticed “a large wad of cash in his hands,” he said.
During a conversation outside Demmons’ car, Rollins said he was checking in on him because of his attempt to rob the same bank in 2012.
Rollins asked Demmons about his financial situation and how he had paid his rent Monday. A self-employed carpenter, Demmons said he had been paid cash for a job, but could not recall who the customer was or where the job was, according to the affidavit.
Demmons consented to a search of his car, during which Rollins found $136 in cash and a shirt that appeared to match the “lighter-colored collar” worn by the man at the bank, according to the affidavit.
The sheriff’s office detained Demmons shortly thereafter. While in his apartment with Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Detective Jared Mitkus, Carroll said he had to go to the bathroom.
“Carroll then palmed something and threw it over the top of the shower,” Rollins said in the affidavit. “(Detective) Mitkus asked Carroll what he had thrown and Carroll ultimately admitted he threw a roll of $20 bills.”
Law enforcement later executed a search warrant at the apartment and found about $1,300 in cash, according to the affidavit. Officers seized the cash and Demmons’ car as evidence.
The whereabouts of the rest of the money was not clear. Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Michael Murphy said Demmons paid other bills, but declined to give specifics.
Rollins arrested Demmons at 4:15 p.m. and took him to Two Bridges, according to a jail admission form.
The investigation was an excellent example of cooperation between agencies, Waldoboro Police Chief Bill Labombarde said.
Labombarde and Officers Larry Hesseltine and Chris Spear investigated with the sheriff’s office, interviewing bank employees and witnesses who saw the tri-colored car, among other things.
The Waldoboro Police Department relies heavily on the sheriff’s office for investigations of serious crimes because it has not had its own detective since 2013, and the agencies have a strong working relationship, Labombarde said.
The afternoon of Wednesday, July 19, Demmons made his initial court appearance via video from a room at the jail.
Demmons did not enter a plea. The attorney of the day at the jail said Demmons had filled out paperwork to apply for a court-appointed attorney.
Assistant District Attorney Katie Dakers represented the state. Dakers asked Raimondi to raise bail from $2,500 to $50,000 cash and to require strict conditions if Demmons meets bail, including a GPS ankle monitor.
Raimondi agreed. The bail will be subject to review when Demmons has his own attorney.
Raimondi scheduled Demmons’ next court appearance for 8:30 a.m. Sept. 11.