December 20, 2014

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Bank robber gets six years in federal prison

The Wellington man who robbed Sun Center Federal Credit Union last year was sentenced Tuesday to six years in federal prison.

Fortier

Aaron Fortier pleaded guilty earlier this year to a federal bank robbery charge in connection with the Oct. 23 robbery of the Wellington bank in which he stole around $11,118.

According to an FBI affidavit, Fortier walked into the bank at 3:23 p.m. armed with a semiautomatic handgun and shoved the weapon into the face of a teller, ordering her to fill a white bag with money. After that teller put money from her drawer in the bag, he trained the gun on a second one, whom he also ordered to put money into the bag.

He then forced the tellers into a back room before fleeing.

Although Fortier wore a hooded sweatshirt, gloves and a multi-colored scarf over his face to conceal his identity, a witness reported seeing a man with a tattoo on his wrist and wearing similar garb crouching down on a sidewalk and hitting himself in the head, the affidavit said.

People who knew Fortier contacted law enforcement after his photo appeared in the media, leading police to Fortier, who was arrested Nov. 2 at his mother’s Wellington home. Several of those who knew Fortier described him as a heroin addict, FBI Agent Kelly Liberti wrote in the affidavit.

After his arrest, Fortier told investigators that he had been “feeling down” and came up with the idea to rob a bank and bought a gun for $150 from a man he knew as “G.”

“On October 23, 2012, Fortier woke up, did not have money, did not have heroin and did not feel good,” Liberti wrote. “Fortier decided at that point to rob Sun Center Federal Credit Union.”

Fortier told investigators that after the robbery, he removed the outer layer of clothes he wore during the robbery and put them in a backpack. He later burned the clothes.

He also said that he threw the gun, which he said was unloaded, into Lake Erie.

But according to a second indictment in the case, Fortier returned the gun to Shannon Rush, a woman who had borrowed the gun from its lawful owner and gave it to Fortier to use during the robbery. Rush served as Fortier’s getaway driver, according to court documents.

Fortier gave some of the money he stole to Rush — who is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to obstructing justice — to pay for the gun, along with the clothes he wore during the robbery and wanted to get rid of.

Rush and Fortier will both be required to pay back the money stolen during the robbery, according to court records.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.