- Police Beat
- The Forecaster
PORTLAND — A 70-year-old Westbrook man who pleaded guilty to robbing a South Portland bank with what turned out to be a squirt gun will spend the next year under house arrest.
Donald C. Sturton, formerly of South Portland, was indicted in April on a felony charge of robbery for holding up a Bank of America branch.
Sturton admitted to robbing the bank at 425 Philbrook Ave. of $895 on the afternoon of March 7, according to court documents filed in Cumberland County Unified Court, and pleaded guilty to the charges May 22 in an agreement with the state.
If Sturton abides by the terms of the agreement, including a curfew and house arrest, the robbery charge will be dismissed and he will be convicted of theft and terrorizing.
If he does not follow the court’s order, Sturton could face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
The sentence, which would be imposed in May 2019, would include 30 days in jail, with credit for time served, according to the deferred disposition.
Sturton is also not allowed to be at a Bank of America property, according to the court order. He is also not allowed to consume or possess alcohol or drugs and will be subject to random searches and testing. He will have an 8 p.m.-6 a.m. curfew while under house arrest, according to the agreement.
During the robbery, Sturton told the bank teller he had a gun with eight bullets and he didn’t want to hurt anybody. He moved his hand in the pocket of his jacket as if he were armed, the suspect told police.
Bank employees called 911, and police quickly apprehended Sturton, who matched the description provided by callers. He was found in a Maine Mall parking lot with a green squirt gun and the bank cash.
While being interviewed by police, Sturton allegedly admitted to the crime, saying he robbed the bank because he needed money to pay his bills, but he also wanted to get caught, according to court documents.
The squirt gun was used at home to train his cats, he told police. Sturton also said he does not feel like a productive member of society, and his life hasn’t “been engaged” in three or four years.
Donald C. Sturton pleaded guilty in Cumberland County Unified Court May 22 to charges of robbery, terrorizing and theft.