Each time the robber struck banks in central Maine, it was around the same time of year — once in December and three times in February — and all happened in mid to late afternoon.

The robber always showed a teller a note threatening violence and demanding cash, didn’t speak or show a weapon, and walked away calmly. In each case, the robber was described as being 55-65 years old, 5-feet-6-inches to 5-feet-10-inches tall and heavyset.

Authorities said Friday the striking similarities in those cases are linked and they are now hunting for a serial bank robber.

Police are asking the public to help identify a man they believe robbed four banks in Pittsfield, Skowhegan and Waterville since December 2012.

Waterville Police Chief Joseph Massey said the bank robbery cases are different from others.

“The frequency of the crimes and some other particularities lead us to believe that this isn’t a robber committing crimes to fuel a drug habit,” Massey said in a press release. “Frankly, once we know who is committing these robberies, we are very curious to learn why he is doing this. We’ve considered many possibilities: stealing money to go on vacation, to pay taxes or some other debt or even to care for a sick family member.

“We aren’t ruling anything out.”

Police say that if someone has information, but it contradicts the description, they still want to hear it.

Waterville Deputy Police Chief Charles Rumsey said Friday that the FBI is also working on the cases and the robber likely will face federal charges.

Waterville, Skowhegan and Pittsfield police on Friday released surveillance photos from robberies at TD Bank at 182 Main St., Waterville on Feb. 12; Bangor Savings Bank at 108 Somerset Ave., Pittsfield, on Feb. 7, 2014; Key Bank at 305 Kennedy Memorial Drive in Waterville on Feb. 21, 2013; and Franklin Savings Bank at 194 Madison Ave. in Skowhegan on Dec. 13, 2012.

The Skowhegan robbery was at 4:40 p.m.; the Pittsfield robbery, 2:45 p.m.; the Key Bank Waterville robbery at 4:42 p.m.; and the TD Bank Waterville robbery at 5:47 p.m.

Detectives say that in addition to the method of operation used by the robber, they also examined crime scenes in detail and reviewed the surveillance video to draw conclusions about the robber.

Besides the note that threatened violence to the teller, and demand for cash, no obvious weapon and not speaking, the robber walked some distance to and from the scene. Investigators think a vehicle was parked in the general area of the banks.

The robberies were also unusual in that the robber was calm and restrained, and when he walked to and from the banks he did it casually, according to the release.

He was dressed in heavy outer clothing such as a parka, gloves and different types of hats and facial coverings in all four instances.

Waterville Detective Sgt. William Bonney said one problem with broadcasting a physical description is that people may discount information they have about the robbery.

Police cautioned that if people have information that seems to contradict what’s been released, not to discount it but to come forward.

“Folks who may think they have important information will tend to keep it to themselves if, for instance, the person they suspect might be of a different height, or a different age,” Bonney said in the news release. “What we really want is for anyone who thinks they may have any helpful information to contact us so we can investigate their lead.”

Detectives said the most valuable leads likely will be generated by members of the public looking at surveillance photos and thinking about whether they know or have seen the person in the photos.

“A large amount of our investigative resources are being committed to this investigation, but we are asking the public’s help,” Waterville police Chief Joseph Massey said in the release.

Police say the repeat nature of the crimes attracted the concern of the FBI and a special agent was assigned to work with and assist police investigators.

Pittsfield police Chief Steven Emery said police typically don’t release certain details about crimes such as bank robberies, including the amount of money stolen or contents of notes displayed during the robberies.

“Such case details are invaluable to our investigators when we question suspects or witnesses who may have information,” Emery said. “It’s a way for us to tell if the people we are interviewing really have any idea what they are talking about.”

Waterville police Detective David Caron is leading the investigation, which police from the three communities have been working on for two years, Rumsey said.

Police asked that anyone with information on the identification of the robber should contact Caron at 680-4700. Tips also may be submitted through the Waterville Police Department’s website: www.watervillepolice.org.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17


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