Bank robbery suspect pleads not guilty

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BENNINGTON — A Bennington man accused of robbing a Manchester bank after performing roof repairs on that same bank was ordered held without bail during his Tuesday afternoon arraignment in the criminal division of the Bennington Superior Court.

Tyler Galipeau, 37, entered a not guilty plea to felony counts of grand larceny over $900 and larceny from a person. Probable cause was found for these charges by Judge William Cohen on Monday. Galipeau faces life in prison if convicted of these felonies due to his status as a habitual offender, having been convicted of a felony more than three times.

Authorities claim that Galipeau threatened a bank teller, claiming to have a gun, and left the bank with $4,178.

At the time of Monday's robbery, Galipeau was on furlough from the Vermont Department of Corrections.

Galipeau was represented Tuesday by public defender Frederick Bragdon, who did not dispute the state's request to hold Galipeau without bail.

Robbery

Just before 11 a.m. Monday, Manchester Police received two calls within a minute of each other notifying them that hold-up alarms had been activated at the People's United Bank at 4993 Main St., according to an affidavit written by MPD Detective Abigail Zimmer.

Chief Michael Hall and Officer Paul McGann responded to the bank just minutes after 11 a.m., and Zimmer and other law enforcement personnel arrived shortly after. Zimmer says she saw several people standing near the front of the bank and heard some of them say they hoped that "Tyler wasn't the one that did it."

Three of these people were identified as workers from a local roof company and told Zimmer they were repairing the People's United Bank roof earlier, and had gone to get a coffee at the Maplefields store. They told Zimmer that another coworker, Galipeau, stayed behind and said he was going to go to McDonald's.

Galipeau had been working with the men since Saturday and was hired to clean up the grounds, they told Zimmer. When they left to get coffee, they noted that Galipeau was still standing in front of the bank but was "acting strange such as walking around and talking to himself."

Galipeau sent one of his coworkers a text around 10:58 a.m. saying he was at Stewart's, but the worker told Zimmer that he considered that strange because Galipeau did not have a car. A few minutes later, he called Galipeau and Galipeau answered, said he was at McDonald's, then hung up.

As Zimmer spoke to the workers, she was told that Hall had detained a man in the nearby Price Chopper parking lot.

Arrest

Shortly after he arrived at the bank, Hall interviewed the bank manager and the teller who reported being robbed. The teller told Hall that a man approached his teller station and, "Before I could say hello, he said `Give me all of the money in the drawer, I have a gun,'" states the affidavit.

The teller told another police officer that he emptied the top drawer, which he estimated had roughly $5,000 in it, and the suspect left the bank by himself.

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The teller described the man as soft-spoken, approximately 5 feet, 10 inches, wearing a red plaid jacket,a dark face mask, a camouflage beanie and camouflage pants. The plaid jacket and face mask were later found in a dumpster behind the Green Mountain Plaza, police say.

One customer was in the bank at the time of the robbery, the teller told police.

When Hall left the bank, he asked one of the roof workers if he had seen anything suspicious. The worker told Hall, "Don't tell me one of my guys robbed the bank," Hall said in an affidavit.

Hall gave the worker a description of the robber and the worker confirmed the description matched Galipeau, and said Galipeau was rambling and talking to himself earlier. The worker said he had just spoken to Galipeau on the phone, who told him he was at McDonald's.

Hall then went to McDonald's, where some of the front counter workers told him that a man who just left the building was "acting very strange."

Upon leaving McDonald's, Hall came across someone matching the description the McDonald's workers gave. Although the man wasn't wearing the same clothes described by witnesses, Hall says the man still "matched the general description by way of body size and build" and also appeared to be mumbling to himself.

When Hall asked, the man told him his name was Tyler Galipeau, but said he did not have any identification on him. Hall searched Galipeau for a gun by reaching into his pocket, but instead found a "large wad of cash."

Galipeau was handcuffed, and another member of the MPD confirmed Galipeau was identified by his coworkers as the robber on the bank video, Hall said.

The corporate security manager for the bank told police that the total stolen was $4,178. After police searched Galipeau and performed an inventory of the money found on him, they determined that Galipeau had $3,521 in his right front pants pocket, $666.83 in his pants leg, and $138 in his wallet, totaling $4,325.

Previous charges

Galipeau pleaded not guilty to breaking into a garage and stealing tools in the spring of 2017. After being arrested for this incident, he was held on a furlough violation.

Galipeau was also sentenced one to three years in prison in March 2017 for a felony conviction of larceny from a person.

After a crash in August 2012, Galipeau was charged with DUI #3, attempting to elude police, gross negligent operation of a vehicle, leaving the scene of a crash with property damage, and resisting arrest.

Galipeau is being held at the Marble Valley Regional Correctional Facility in Rutland.

Christie Wisniewski can be reached at cwisniewski@benningtonbanner.com and at 802-447-7567, ext. 111.


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