Four years for robber

Man tells court he robbed sev­eral banks along High­way 401 after los­ing his job

The Intelligencer (Belleville) - - FRONT PAGE - JA­SON MILLER

The Blue Jays ban­dit has been caged.

The 30-year-old Que­bec man who robbed eight On­tario banks, in­clud­ing banks in Kingston, Na­pa­nee and Quinte West, pleaded guilty and was sen­tenced to four years along with a life­time weapons ban at the Quinte Court­house Fri­day. He will also be sub­jected to a DNA sam­ple.

Tris­tan Marois Drouin, who the court heard drove a gold Cadil­lac and of­ten wore a Blue Jays hat and passed the tell­ers notes threat­en­ing to use a weapon if they re­fused to hand over the cash, stole $9,800, plus $2,200 in Amer­i­can cur­rency.

Don­ning a green t-shirt and the brown beard iden­ti­fied by the tell­ers, a burly Drouin stood be­fore Jus­tice Stephen Hunter and apol­o­gized for the spate of rob­beries com­mit­ted be­tween Au­gust and De­cem­ber of 2016.

“I’m re­ally sorry for any­one I might have af­fected... es­pe­cially the tell­ers,” Drouin said from the pris­oner’s box be­fore be­ing es­corted away by of­fi­cers. “I didn’t want to hurt any­one.”

Drouin was held Dec. 16, by an ob­ser­vant OPP of­fi­cer at the Tren­ton On­route shortly after he had robbed Bow­manville and Cobourg bank branches. He was ar­rested for eight counts of rob­bery with the threat of vi­o­lence.

Po­lice later seized items ty­ing him to the var­i­ous rob­beries, in­clud­ing cash, rob­bery notes and the cloth­ing he wore.

“At the Quinte West de­tach­ment he pro­vided a state­ment ad­mit­ting to all eight rob­beries,” the court heard. “He ad­vised in­ves­ti­ga­tors he was un­em­ployed and rob­bing banks to pay his liv­ing ex­penses.”

Hunter was puz­zled how a man with no record sud­denly de­cided to jump­start his crim­i­nal ca­reer by hit­ting eight banks. Lo­ca­tions in Rich­mond Hill, Toronto, Oshawa were also robbed.

“De­spite 26 years on the bench, the odd­ity of hu­man be­hav­iour con­tin­ues to sur­prise me,” Hunter said be­fore levy­ing his sen­tence.

He said de­spite Drouin not be­ing on the crim­i­nal radar, he was eas­ily iden­ti­fied from sur­veil­lance footage and con­fessed to com­mit­ting the acts.

“Four years in cus­tody from this date,” Hunter said. The judge is­sued a for­fei­ture or­der for the funds found and as­sis­tant Crown at­tor­ney Michael Lun­ski said in­di­vid­ual banks will have to de­cide if they want to take fur­ther civil ac­tion to re­coup the bal­ance.

Lun­ski sought a four year term, on the grounds of the egre­gious act hav­ing a “se­ri­ous ef­fect on the vic­tims. Some of these vic­tims have dif­fi­culty serv­ing clients who re­sem­ble Drouin.”

Some of the tell­ers have also missed work.

He said even though Drouin was never found with a gun the very threat of it was enough to do dam­age.

“At the time of the of­fences he was un­em­ployed and liv­ing in a apart­ment in Gatineau, Que­bec,” Lun­ski said.

In Septem­ber he robbed the Royal Bank in Na­pa­nee.

“He waited in line ap­proached the teller and handed her a typed note that stated, ‘This is a rob­bery, I am armed. Put $5,000 in a en­ve­lope and give it to me’,” Lun­ski read from the agreed state­ment of facts. “Do not put the dye pack or sound the alarm or I will have to come back.”

He was given $500 and he fled on foot.

In Novem­ber he hit the Royal Bank in Tren­ton the same way he had robbed four banks pre­vi­ously.

“He said this was a rob­bery and he was armed,” Lun­ski said. “The teller gave him $500, which in­cluded $200 from the hold up bun­dle con­tain­ing se­rial num­bers.”

Only a frac­tion of the stolen cash was re­cov­ered, with $6,780 Cana­dian and $2,000 US still out­stand­ing

De­fence lawyer Ja­son Easton agreed to much of the joint sub­mis­sion but pleaded for some le­niency. He said the Gatineau man worked at a call cen­tre be­fore be­ing laid off.

Drouin’s des­per­a­tion to make ends meet was mo­ti­va­tion for the crimes, Easton said.

“He de­cided that he was go­ing to make ends meet by com­mit­ting armed rob­beries,” he said. “He con­tin­ued to do it.”

Easton noted men­tal health is­sues, say­ing Drouin is bi-po­lar and has strug­gled with anx­i­ety and de­pres­sion.

“He was ready to plead guilty at a early stage,” said Easton. “He de­serves some credit for that.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.