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Greyhound bus driver admits to 11 robberies

By Jonathan Saltzman
Globe Staff / October 2, 2010

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A Greyhound bus driver nicknamed the “burly bandit’’ by the FBI pleaded guilty in a Maine court yesterday to robbing 11 banks and credit unions in New England and New York during a three-month spree, including several along his bus route.

Robert Ferguson, 47, of Lowell admitted in US District Court in Bangor that he stole about $107,000 from the banks and credit unions, including four in Massachusetts. The robberies began April 9 in Buffalo, N.Y., and ended hours after he held up a bank in Bangor on July 13.

Prosecutors said tips they received after surveillance photographs of the robber were distributed to news outlets helped solve the case. An employee of a Days Inn where Ferguson was staying after his last robbery contacted authorities to say a guest resembled the burly man in a photograph taken hours before at the Bangor Savings Bank in Orono.

Numerous other people identified Ferguson from the photographs taken at the Orono bank, including his fiancée, his brother, and a co-worker, prosecutors said.

The four Massachusetts robberies took place at Lowell Five Cent Savings Bank in Tewksbury April 29, Digital Federal Credit Union in Tyngsborough May 5, Rollstone Bank & Trust in Fitchburg May 17, and Rockland Federal Credit Union in North Attleborough May 27, prosecutors said.

He also robbed banks in New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont, authorities said.

US Attorney Thomas E. Delahanty II of Maine said the robberies fit a pattern. The robber would show a gun or indicate he had one and threaten to harm bank employees if they did not follow orders. He wore disguises, including a beard, and walked a considerable distance before he got into a getaway vehicle.

After Ferguson’s arrest, authorities searched a Greyhound bus that he drove and found a blue nylon bag containing $10,925 behind an access panel in the luggage compartment, prosecutors said.

No sentencing date has been set.

Saltzman can be reached at jsaltzman@globe.com.

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