BANGOR – A Portland man was apprehended quickly after he allegedly robbed a bank branch near Bangor Mall on Wednesday afternoon.
Niall Gerard Clarke, 26, entered a Bank of America branch on Bangor Mall Boulevard at about 1:15 p.m., brandished a gun and demanded money, the FBI said.
Todd DiFede, supervisory agent for the FBI in Maine, declined to say how much money was found on Clarke.
He said the robber left the bank with some cash.
Clarke, who has been charged with armed bank robbery, is expected to appear today in U.S. District Court in Bangor. Most likely, he will be detained while awaiting trial.
If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in federal prison.
When bank employees called 911 to report the robbery, according to DiFede, they gave Bangor police a description of the suspect and the license plate number of his get-away car.
“The witnesses’ identification of his vehicle helped out tremendously,” DiFede said. “He didn’t get very far because of the swiftness of the ID.”
A Bangor police officer in an unmarked car was on Stillwater Avenue near the mall when the description of the suspected robber and his car were broadcast. When the officer spotted the car, he followed it until the driver pulled onto Interstate 95 where state police cruisers were waiting for him.
Clarke was apprehended by Bangor police about 1:30 p.m. with assistance from the Maine State Police less than half a mile south of the Kelly Road in the southbound lanes of I-95.
The green Chevy Lumina he was driving, which is registered in his name at an address in Portland, was impounded by the police as evidence.
Federal, state and local law enforcement officials spent Wednesday afternoon at the former Fleet Bank branch, located next to a Hannaford supermarket on the entrance road to the Bangor Mall. The branch was closed for the rest of the day after the alleged robbery.
A sign reading “The bank is temporarily closed due to an emergency” was posted on the door of the branch. It directed customers to the bank’s main branch in downtown Bangor.
More details of the investigation are expected to be released after Clarke’s court appearance.
Last year, an unarmed man robbed the University Credit Union on Union Street.
Steven Wesley Bell, 21, of Bangor was sentenced in February in U.S. District Court in Bangor to more than six years in federal prison after pleading guilty to the April 4, 2005, robbery.