A Massachusetts man on Monday received a 9 1/2-year prison term for robbing a Bangor Savings Bank branch in York, Maine, by telling an employee he had a bomb, according to authorities and court documents.
Brandon Simmons, 35, was sentenced in US District Court in Portland, Maine, the office of Maine US Attorney Darcie N. McElwee said in a statement.
Simmons entered the bank on Nov. 1, 2021, and told an teller that “he had a bomb” and demanded cash, prosecutors said. He grabbed money from the teller’s drawer and drove away in a white work van, prosecutors said.
During the investigation, Simmons was also identified as a suspect in the Oct. 30, 2021, robbery of a CVS in Newburyport, Mass., and between Nov. 1 and Nov. 3, he led police on a series of high-speed chases in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, prosecutors said.
“In his attempts to avoid apprehension, he assaulted a police officer, attempted to carjack a civilian bystander, stole multiple vehicles, and crashed his van into a truck driven by a bystander,” prosecutors said.
Simmons was arrested Nov. 3, 2021, in a hotel in Peabody, Mass.
Prosecutors said Simmons had pleaded guilty to the bank heist in September 2022 in federal court in Portland. He pleaded guilty Wednesday in Essex Superior Court to the Newburyport robbery and to charges related to the high-speed chases, records show, and was sentenced to seven years in state prison.
His sentence in the Maine case will run concurrently with his Massachusetts term, according to legal filings.
In a court document filed in the Maine case, Simmons’s lawyer, Heather Gonzales, said her client has “battled a profound substance use disorder that hijacked his brain and left him in a constant state of despair.”
Prosecutors had requested a 15 and 1/2 year prison term, and Gonzales said Simmons ”deserves mercy.”
“Brandon has been anxious, angry, and confused for most of his life,” Gonzalez wrote. “His home life caused tremendous damage to his self-development, his ability to respond to conflict, and to self-regulate.”
Travis Andersen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.