A Bingham man has been arrested and charged with robbing two banks, and police say they found the hammer used in the robberies on U.S. Route 201.
Travis A. Carrigan, 35, of Murray Street, was arrested Wednesday night and charged in connection with the Jan. 17 robbery at the Camden National Bank and another Feb. 4 at Skowhegan Savings Bank, both on Main Street in Bingham.
Carrigan acted alone, police said, and used the same getaway car, a 1997 Buick Lesabre, in both robberies.
Police said at the time of the robberies that the robber was wearing a ski mask and wielding a hammer. Police found a hammer the believe to be the weapon used Thursday morning along U.S. 201 in Madison, about 20 miles south of Bingham.
Dale Lancaster, chief deputy of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Department, would not say how police knew where to look for the hammer — which is the type carpenters use for framing, and is bigger and heavier than a household hammer — or if Carrigan told them where it was.
Lancaster said Carrigan admitted to robbing the banks after he was picked up for questioning Wednesday night and taken to the sheriff’s office in East Madison, where he later was arrested.
“He had been an individual of interest for a period of time and we brought him in to talk to him,” Lancaster said.
Lancaster said the motive for the robberies appears, in part, to be drug related, but he would not elaborate.
Armed robbery charges are class A felonies punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a $50,000 fine on each count.
The robber both times made off with an undisclosed amount of cash after threatening employees inside the banks. Lancaster would not say what the threat was.
In each of the two robberies, the man was said to have worn a black ski mask and left the bank on foot. No one was injured in either incident.
In the Feb. 4 robbery, the robber was described as slender, while the robber in the previous hold-up was described as heavyset. Composite sketches released by police following the first robbery Jan. 17 showed a man with long hair.
Lancaster said the face was accurately depicted in the sketches, but witness observations about the robber’s physical build can vary, especially when the robber is attempting to disguise his identity.
“Whenever you have an event as large as a bank robbery, descriptions can vary, but they put you in the ballpark,” he said. “It’s an investigative tool, but they are not relied on 100 percent. When we were doing statements and interviewing people, what they gave us for a description is what they perceived the individual to be. Outside of the hair, the sketch looks pretty close.”
Somerset sheriff’s detectives worked processing the scenes of the robberies, viewing camera footage, interviewing witnesses, writing search warrants and following up on leads provided by witnesses, Lancaster said. Somerset detectives will consult with the district attorney’s office as the case progresses, he said.
Robbery charges had not yet been filed with the court Thursday afternoon and Carrigan had not yet made an appearance before a judge. He has not been assigned an attorney.
Carrigan also is charged with one count of violation of condition of release on a charge of operating after suspension in October. His license had been suspended because of a previous operating under the influence conviction, according to court records. He has pleaded not guilty to the license suspension charge and was released on personal recognizance with a condition that he not commit any new criminal conduct.
A motion to revoke bail, based on the alleged new criminal conduct, has been filed by the district attorney’s office and Carrigan will remain held at the county jail without bail until there is a hearing on the motion.
Bank officials thanked law enforcement for quickly solving the cases and were grateful that no one was injured, said Jennifer E. Roper, a spokeswoman for Camden National Bank.
Asked whether the robbery had prompted the bank to change any security measures, Roper said in a statement: “We are constantly reviewing and reassessing our security protocols to ensure the safety of our employees and customers.”
John Witherspoon, president and chief executive officer for Skowhegan Savings Bank, also praised the swift response by police in solving the crimes. As for reassessing security at the bank, Witherspoon said employees followed procedures “to a T.”
“There’s no need for us to change those — they worked well,” he said. “I’m sure, given the spate of bank robberies throughout the state lately, every bank is reviewing their robbery procedures, but we made no changes. We are pleased with the way our staff responded.”