LEWISTON — A transient who robbed a local bank in April and enlisted his father as an unwitting getaway driver was sentenced Thursday to seven years in prison.

Jospeph Tilton Androscoggin County Jail photo

Joseph Tilton, 39, pleaded guilty to Class B robbery, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. He also pleaded guilty to theft by unauthorized taking, a Class C felony that carries a maximum penalty of up to five years.

Eighth District Court Judge Tammy Ham-Thompson imposed a five-year sentence on Tilton for the theft, which he’ll serve at the same time as the robbery.

Tilton was ordered to pay $620 in restitution to Androscoggin Bank.

Police said Tilton’s father drove his son to St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center on the morning of April 30 and urged him to check himself in for drug addiction treatment, but the younger Tilton refused to get out of the car.

He asked his father to drop him off at Androscoggin Bank on Sabattus Street so he could cash a check, according to court papers.

A couple of minutes later, Tilton got back in the car, was “acting odd” and had no apparent destination in mind, according to his father.

He eventually dropped off his son at Pine and Webster streets where he was later arrested.

As Tilton’s father drove past the bank again on his way home, a teller pointed to the getaway car through the bank window. Police stopped the car driven by Tilton’s father and questioned him, but he wasn’t charged.

The teller at the bank said Tilton had told her to give him her money. She thought he was joking because he had spoken in a “low tone,” she told police.

He said: “Give me the f—— money. The cops are on the way,” she later told police. He repeated his demand “louder and with more authority,” then jumped over the counter and she opened the cash drawer. She handed him cash as he grabbed it from the drawer, she said.

After emptying the drawer, he jumped back into the lobby and fled the bank with $620 in cash, she said. Tellers triggered a bank alarm and locked the exterior doors, she said.

Prosecutors said Tilton has a lengthy criminal record and had recently been released after serving time at a Maine prison.

He was convicted of three theft charges in 2016 and one in 2017.

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