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2/26/2014 2:00:00 PM
Waldoboro Man Pleads Guilty to Attempted Bank Robbery
Joseph Lewis
Joseph Lewis

A Waldoboro man pleaded guilty Feb. 25 to attempting to rob a bank in Union last November.

Joseph M. Lewis, 31, was arrested Nov. 21 shortly after attempting to enter the Union branch of Damariscotta Bank & Trust while wearing a mask. The bank's lobby had closed and employees had locked the door just prior to his arrival.

Lewis's actions constituted "a substantial step" toward the commission of the crime of robbery, a Class B felony, according to a complaint signed by Knox County Sheriff's Deputy Jeremy Joslyn.

According to a report from KCSO Lt. Reginald Walker, Lewis allegedly said it was a last minute decision to rob the bank as he "pressured with bills and not getting ahead," and was so nervous that he tripped while walking to the door of the bank and believed he forgot to pull his mask down.

After bank employees reported the attempted robbery and a description of the vehicle, Joslyn and Deputy Paul Spear located a similar vehicle operated by Lewis near the Union Common and arrested him.

Justice Jeffrey Hjelm accepted Lewis's guilty plea for Class C attempted robbery in Knox County Superior Court the afternoon of Feb. 25.

Hjelm said in some ways Lewis was lucky the door was locked, for if he had gone inside it would have been a much more serious situation.

Lewis was sentenced to five years incarceration with all but six months suspended and two years probation. If he violates his probation, Lewis could serve the suspended 54 months in state prison.

Lewis will be required to write a letter of apology to the bank employees that were present at the time of his crime, Hjelm said.

In the proceedings, Assistant District Attorney Jeffrey Baroody said Walker had developed information Lewis had an issue with the use of pills, which may have been the source of Lewis's need for money.

After the sentencing, Lewis's attorney, Philip Cohen, said Lewis had done everything right since the time of his arrest.

"He's done everything you could expect a defendant to do," such as going into counseling after he got out of jail, Cohen said.

Lewis even went so far as to change his telephone number to avoid his previous circle of friends - a unique step, Cohen said.

Lewis had no comment.

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