Witness ends robbery spree
In the sudden resolution to a series of cross-border bank robberies, a tip and a routine day on the job combined to result in the arrest of a Vermont couple within an hour of the robbery of a Poultney bank.
The call went out to police at 3:10 p.m. Nov. 2 alerting authorities the Citizen’s Bank on Main Street in Poultney, Vt. had been robbed by a suspect matching the description of a woman who robbed the Main Street Granville branch of TD Bank on Oct. 25.
Already linked by police to four prior robberies including three done by a male, suspects Jill Ludwig, 30, and John Maynard, 30, of Castleton would end the day in handcuffs and facing multiple charges, thanks to a few lucky breaks for police.
Police said the couple admitted to robbing the banks to support a heroin habit, which police suspected as the possible motivation for the crimes from the start of the investigation.
An advanced heroin addiction could cost hundreds of dollars a day to maintain with drugs bought from a street level dealer, police said, a fact that drives some to leave the area seeking cheaper heroin in New York City and New Jersey.
A number of other recent robberies and break-ins have been linked to addicts trying to get money or goods to exchange for drugs. In fact, former Granville resident Dale Faxon Jr. pled guilty on Thursday to stealing eight guns from Whitney’s Archery just over a year ago in another case linked to drugs.
Fortunately for police investigating the bank robberies, routine police work put one police officer already in his car and within reach of Poultney.
Granville Police Sgt. David Williams said the first person on the scene in Poultney was New York State BCI Investigator Thomas Aiken.
Williams said Aiken was coming to Granville to pick up evidence in the at-the-time on-going investigation into robberies of banks in Granville, Rutland and West Rutland, when the call came in.
Equipped with directions from Williams, Aiken was first on the scene, conducting interviews including a crucial one with barber Jeff Roberts who provided a complete plate number for the late model black Ford Taurus police sought in connection with the robberies. Using that information police were able to find the suspect’s apartment and later the suspects.
Castleton Police Chief Bruce Sherwin spotted the suspect vehicle parked partially behind a building in Hydeville near Paul’s Family Pizza and called for backup, police said.
Police converged on the area and Ludwig and Maynard were taken into custody without incident.
Police linked Ludwig and Maynard to four robberies prior to their capture in Castleton including Merchant’s Bank in Rutland, Lake Sunapee Bank in West Rutland and the pair of Main Street TD Bank robberies in Granville.
The Granville robberies were the first in recent memory and occurred within five days of each other, with Ludwig and then Maynard each taking a turn going into the bank. “The bottom line is everyone is safe and we can all breathe a sigh of relief,” Williams said.