NBT Bank robbers captured
Three Utica men were captured Thursday after State Police Troop D, with the assistance of several local law enforcement agencies, received information to execute a warrant for arrest in relation to the recent robbery of NBT Bank of Middleville.
Lieutenant Dave Krause, with the Bureau of Criminal Investigation in Oneida, said at a press conference Friday that two brothers and an acquaintance were arrested after the Whitesboro Police Department received information from a confidential source with details lucidly pointing to the suspects.
Although a warrant cannot be obtained solely by anonymous tippers, other information was available and aided in obtaining the warrants. “Other facets than the source contributed to obtaining a warrant,” Krause said.
Victor P. Pett, 28, of 1566 Neilson St., Utica, his roommate, Donald R. Bianchi, 25, and Victor’s brother, Gary Pett, 31, of Mulberry Street in Utica, have been charged with first-degree robbery, a class B felony, for their participation in the NBT Bank robbery Dec. 6.
According to state police, the roommates were not in the Neilson Street residence at the time of the search warrant, which when executed, uncovered evidence associated with the robbery which clearly linked them to the crime.
The Mulberry Street residence has not yet been searched.
The roommates were in the immediate vicinity of the street, and Gary was found shortly thereafter.
All were arrested without incident.
Witnesses told police that a white male standing at about five feet, ten inches tall with a ski mask on and sandy blonde hair displayed a handgun in the bank and demanded an undisclosed amount of money from tellers.
Several robberies have occurred over the past few weeks throughout the Mohawk Valley, and Krause said that although it has been common this holiday season, he cannot disclose what motive the men had for the NBT Bank incident, whether it be related to drugs or holidays.
“It would also be speculation to say that there are more arrests pending,” he said, “but I can tell you that the investigation continues.”
Krause said at least one of the men has a criminal record involving robbery, but cannot disclose the name or names.
Within minutes of the robbery, Krause said, local law enforcement agencies around the area had assisted by setting up road checks. A person of interest was questioned by the State Police BCI in Herkimer, and released after it was decided he was not involved in the incident.
The man, whose name was not disclosed to the public, had his picture splashed across several local media outlets, as he fit the vague description of the man who had walked into the facility with gun in hand. His picture had been obtained through an ATM videotape, driving a white vehicle that fit the description of a vehicle eyewitnesses saw leave the scene within moments of the crime. He passed through road blocks via the Dolgeville Police Department, was located and quickly eliminated as a suspect.
“The subject was very cooperative,” Krause said, “which helped move the investigation further along.”
Krause said that there is no information indicating that the three robbers had passed through police road blocks.
The make and model of the vehicle they used as a getaway car cannot be disclosed at this time.
Due to the status of the investigation, which is ongoing, many details of the investigation cannot be released.
The identity of the man who actually walked into the building with the weapon is also not being released.
Police cannot yet disclose whether or not any money from the robbery has been recovered or if the handgun was found.
All three men were arraigned Friday in the Middleville Village Court by Justice John Sweney and remanded to the Herkimer County Correctional facility in lieu of $150,000 cash bail or $300,000 bail bond, and are expected to reappear in court some time next week.
Assisting in the investigation and execution of the warrants were local law enforcement agencies, including the Herkimer County State Police BCI, Community Narcotics Enforcement.
“The State Police were assisted by our CNET Central, NYS Parole, the Whitesboro Police Department, Utica Police Department, who provided assistance through their warrant squad, Criminal Investigation Division and Emergency Response Team, as well as the use of their facilities,” Krause said gratefully, adding the significance of the police agencies who conducted road check immediately after the crime. “I think this thoroughly demonstrates the team effort and cooperation involved, thanks to the various agencies who aided in the investigation.”