WATERVILLE — A city man was arrested Monday on charges that he robbed Bank of America on Main Street after threatening a teller with a bomb, prompting an evacuation of the area.

But there was no bomb, police said, and a suspect was caught quickly thanks to four bystanders who helped track and nab him.

William Bruce Adamchak, 48, of 53 Western Ave., Apt. 2, Waterville, faces felony charges of robbery, terrorizing and theft.

A customer inside Bank of America, at 33 Main St., initially tipped off police about 3 p.m., saying someone appeared to be robbing the bank.

“When (the robber) went into the bank he indicated he had some explosives with him in a knapsack and he left with an undisclosed amount of money,” said Police Chief Joseph Massey. “He left the knapsack in the bank, left it on the counter by the bank teller he had approached.”

The customer, a man, who had initially called police, waited outside on the sidewalk and then followed the suspect as he walked up Main Street, across The Concourse and to The Big Apple on Elm Street, according to Massey. The bank’s alarm also went off, alerting police.

Officer Galen Estes pulled into The Big Apple and saw the suspect coming out the convenience store and confronted him. The man, later identified as Adamchak, was uncooperative, Massey said about the scene that developed.

While they were struggling with him, there was a transmission on Estes’s radio about the bank robbery and a suspect leaving on foot.

Adamchak bolted and Estes followed.

Three men who were watching the scene unfold got in front of Adamchak and one of them knocked Adamchak to the ground.

Police said they found Adamchak with an undisclosed amount — the same amount taken from the bank.

Deputy Chief Charles Rumsey called the assistance of the four bystanders “wonderful.”

“The caller who initially reported the suspicious activity at the bank could have made a choice to not get involved and to go about his day,” Rumsey said.

“Also, the bystanders who rendered aid to officer Estes in detaining the suspect were great, and they were in the right place and the right time and they were willing to help.

“We appreciate that and it led to a swift apprehension in the case.”

Meanwhile, a Maine State Police bomb squad arrived as a large swath of downtown — roughly from Temple Street and the Silver Street extension — was evacuated as a precaution and the roads shut down to traffic.

At 5:45 p.m., police reported that the bomb squad and a state fire marshal had examined the bag inside the bank and determined it was safe and contained no explosives.

“It contained personal property, clothes, miscellaneous items, nothing of a illegal or dangerous nature,” Rumsey said.

Adamchak was initially arrested on three outstanding warrants — for probation revocation related to charges of forgery and theft; for unpaid fines related to charges of theft and failure to appear in court; and for unpaid fines related to a charge of operating under the influence.

According to court listings published by the Morning Sentinel, Adamchak was convicted earlier this year of forgery and theft by unauthorized taking or transfer on Oct. 8, 2010, and failure to appear in court on criminal summons Dec. 7, and he was sentenced to three years jail with all but seven days suspended, two years’ probation and $125 restitution.

Adamchak was being held Monday night on $120,000 cash bail and was expected to be taken later to the Kennebec County jail in Augusta, police said. He’s scheduled to appear in superior court Jan. 10.

Massey said there is no early indication that Adamchak could also be tied to the city’s last bank robbery, Sept. 22 at HealthFirst Federal Credit Union at 9 Quarry Road. Police have not yet charged anyone in connection with that case.

“We’re certainly going to take a look at that,” Massey said.

Scott Monroe — 861-9239

[email protected]


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