Portland police make arrests in bank, credit union robberies

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PORTLAND — Suspects in a string of bank robberies dating back to May are all in custody, Police Chief Michael Sauschuck announced Tuesday afternoon.

“By working with the community, our law enforcement partners at the FBI, and neighboring police departments, the department is happy to report that it has solved all of these recent bank robberies,” Sauschuck said in an afternoon press conference outside police headquarters at 109 Middle St.

Police charged 42-year-old Thomas Monat with the most recent robbery, Sept. 25 at the University Credit Union branch at 391 Forest Ave.

Monat was arrested a few blocks away about a day later, Assistant Police Chief Vern Malloch said in a Sept. 26 news release. He is being held on $100,000 bail at Cumberland County Jail.

Sauschuck said three others have been or will be charged and indicted in the robberies, but Monat is charged in only the Sept. 25 robbery. The chief declined to identify the other suspects.

All could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted, and Sauschuck said federal charges are also possible.

The series of robberies began May 14 when the University Credit Union branch at 1071 Brighton Ave. was robbed. On May 26, the Tru-Choice Credit Union at 272 Park Ave. was robbed. Both were armed robberies.

In the first four robberies, the suspect was described as a black male wearing a disguise and possibly a wig or dreadlocks.

TruChoice and cPort credit union officials eventually offered a $10,000 reward through Aug. 31 for information leading to the successful prosecution of suspects connected to the TruChoice robbery and the June 19 robbery of the cPort Credit Union at 285 Forest Ave.

Shortly after the cPort Credit Union was robbed, police said the same suspect robbed the Bank of America branch at One City Center. The incident led police to seal off the area for several hours as they searched a nearby parking garage.

On Sept. 4, the University Credit Union branch at 391 Forest Ave. was robbed by what police described as a “heavily disguised” couple who displayed a handgun before demanding cash.  

Sauschuck said the robberies “can be very traumatic for people working (at the banks) and the general public. He said substance abuse or addiction may have been motivating factors in the robberies.

“I certainly think there is a substance abuse nexus,” he said.

The chief said the arrests show how well the public and law enforcement can work together.

“Disguises and advanced planning have not protected the criminals that committed these crimes,” Sauschuck said. “And they will not prevent the apprehension of others who might seek to profit through bank robbery in the future.”

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or dharry@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

Police announced Sept. 29 they have arrested suspects in six Portland bank and credit union robberies, including this Sept. 4 robbery of the University Credit Union on Forest Avenue.

Surveillance photos of the suspected robber of the TruChoice Credit Union Park Avenue branch on May 26.

Police said the public helped identify University Credit Union robbery suspect Thomas Monat from a surveillance photo. He was arrrested a day after the Sept. 25 robbery.

Video surveillance shows one of two suspects in the Sept. 4 robbery of the University Credit Union on Forest Avenue in Portland.

Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.