Roberts is two-for-two
Poultney has a security system on Main Street that doesn’t have a single camera or motion sensor and it’s been in place for 36 years.
Barber Jeff Roberts was the man who provided police with the crucial information that led to the capture of Jill Ludwig and John Maynard, both 30 and living in Castleton, wanted in connection with five cross-border bank robberies in the area including two inside of a week that shocked Granville residents Oct. 25 and 29.
“This is my corner and I keep an eye on it,” he said.
It was the robbery of the Citizen’s Bank on Poultney’s Main Street that provided the crucial citing which helped police to crack the case and catch both suspects.
Roberts said he was not sure exactly why the woman in a nondescript car caught his attention initially, but once she was out the door is was clear something was going on.
On a day considered balmy for the Northeast in fall, about 65 degrees and sunny, the woman was wearing a heavy, dark-colored hooded sweatshirt – with the hood up.
“I got kind of suspicious right away,” he said.
Having heard news reports of the area robberies, Roberts said he was also aware police were looking for a dark colored car with New Jersey license plates.
This car had New Jersey license plates.
When the woman in the hoodie returned it was plain to see something was wrong because Roberts said her bag was billowing purple-colored smoke.
A teller at the Citizen’s Bank inserted a dye pack into the money handed over the Ludwig, the remnants of which could later be seen on her hands when she was apprehended outside of Paul’ Family Pizza in Hydeville.
Ludwig got into the car and left the area.
Roberts said he didn’t need to call 911 because police were at his door asking if he had seen anything within minutes of the car pulling out.
It was Roberts’ taking down the license plate number when the suspicious-acting woman got out of her parking spot at the Stewart’s Shop across the street that led to the capture of the pair of suspects in the five area bank robberies.
“It was a good thing I wasn’t busy at the time,” Roberts said.
His barber chair faces away from the windows that look out on the spot where Ludwig parked her black 2000 Ford Taurus Nov. 2 before walking up the alley and entering the Citizen’s Bank branch on Main Street and showing the clerk a note threatening a gun and demanding money.
Ironically, it was the same spot, Roberts said, that bank robbers used in 2008 when a man robbed the same Poultney bank.
“He got 40 months,” Roberts said.
He too was caught thanks to the observations of Roberts. The barber brushes off suggestions he is anything other than a man who was paying attention in the right place at the right time.
“I’m not a hero or anything; the police who caught him did all the work. I just gave them the information, they did all the work,” Roberts said Friday morning as he finished off another haircut. “They did a good job; I think it was excellent work.”
In less than an hour after Roberts gave police the description, Ludwig and Maynard were in handcuffs.
The following day, Nov.3, the couple was charged with three bank robberies in Vermont including the Merchant’s Bank in Rutland, the Lake Sunapee Bank in West Rutland and the Poultney Citizen’s Bank branch.
Officials have said the couple will face charges for both Granville robberies as well, at a later date.