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Updated: December 14, 2023

Suspect nabbed after Skoweghan Savings Bank robbery in Portland

Bank branch exterior Photo / Renee Cordes The Skowhegan Savings Bank branch at 287 Marginal Way in Portland was robbed on Wednesday morning. Police arrested a suspect a half hour later.

A Skowhegan Savings Bank branch in Portland's East Bayside neighborhood was robbed Wednesday morning, though a suspected culprit was quickly caught.

At 9:54 a.m., 32 minutes after being called, police arrested 29-year-old Khalid Gurhan on charges of robbery and violating conditions of release. He was also charged with criminal mischief for allegedly throwing an object through the window of a home shortly before the robbery.

An undisclosed amount of money was stolen and recovered from the bank branch at 287 Marginal Way, the Portland Police Department said in a news release. Spokesman Brad Nadeau told Mainebiz that police are still investigating.

Details such as what if any weapon Gurhan might have carried were not disclosed.

The most recent similar incident in Portland took place Jan. 25 at a Norway Savings Bank branch on Forest Avenue. "The last bank robbery was a long time ago," Nadeau added. "It's not a trend by any means."

Andrew Fortin-Trimble, a spokesman for Skowhegan Savings, said that no one at the Portland branch was injured in Wednesday's robbery. He declined to say how many people are employed at the location, a 3,040-square-foot building that opened in 2021.

Industry-wide security 

Banks and credit unions take a host of measures to prevent robberies.

"The risk of bank robberies is ever present in the industry," said Andrew Silsby, president and CEO of Kennebec Savings Bank. The Augusta-based institution has a branch at 53 Baxter Blvd., about a mile from the Skowhegan branch that was robbed Wednesday.

"Every bank trains its staff for when the day happens, but it is still disruptive and very difficult for the staff members involved," he said. "Every bank employee knows robberies are always a risk. Law enforcement always does a fantastic job tracking down these individuals and bringing them to justice. "

Large-scale, planned heists are much rarer than they were years ago.

"Today, robberies are more crimes of immediate opportunity and often drug-related, which layers on an extra level of concern to the ever-present robbery risk," he said.

Similarly at Town & Country Federal Credit Union, President and CEO David Libby emphasized that the safety of its members and employees is a top priority for the Scarborough-based institution.

"Anytime you hear about a robbery at a financial institution, it raises your attention and serves as a reminder to us and our staff to be vigilant at all times," he said. "Fortunately, robberies are rare. But we have a long-standing policy of not permitting anyone to enter our branches wearing hats, hoods or sunglasses, and to report anyone suspicious."

At Norway Savings, "rigorous physical security programs, and the bank’s top priority has been and will always be the safety of our customers and employees during a robbery attempt," said spokeswoman Melissa Rock.

"Robbery deterrence efforts on the part of Norway Savings Bank continue to be a balancing act between creating a welcoming environment and maintaining stringent security measures," she added. 

"Our well-trained staff, sophisticated alarm systems, high-tech cameras and other security measures have been effective in helping law enforcement officials catch bank robbers."

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