Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Bank robber nabbed at Super 8

Published in the Current and the American Journal

A man who allegedly robbed a Portland bank Saturday was arrested Monday at the Super 8 Motel on Larrabee Road in Westbrook. Steven Conway, 34, who gave police an address in Cape Elizabeth, was scheduled for arraignment Tuesday on a charge of armed robbery.

Portland Police Deputy Chief Bill Ridge expects the state charge to be dropped and a federal bank robbery charge to be filed against Conway.

“Robbing a bank is at the same time a state crime and a federal crime,” Ridge said. The federal charge “has far more severe penalties.”

On Saturday just after noon, a man walked into the Key Bank branch at 400 Forest Ave., Portland, “displayed a firearm and demanded money,” Ridge said.

An undisclosed amount was loaded into two paper bags, and the man left. As he walked down a nearby street, a dye packet concealed in one bag exploded, marking the stolen bills. The man left that bag, and police were able to recover “a large amount” of cash from the street, Ridge said.

“He eluded the police at that point,” Ridge said. Nothing more was heard until Portland police got a call at 8 a.m. Monday morning from a desk clerk at the Super 8 Motel on Larrabee Road. That person had money in the cash register “that appeared to be tainted with red dye,” Ridge said. The clerk said the man who had passed the money was still in his room.

Portland and Westbrook police responded, as well as the FBI. Just after 11 a.m., the clerk called the room to ask for the occupants to pay for another night or to leave.

“Mr. Conway and a woman who was with him” came out of the room. Conway had some red-tainted bills on him, Ridge said. The woman was questioned and released as a witness who was not involved in the crime.