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Windham bank robber heads to prison

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    Gary J. Pett
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    The NBT Bank of Windham was robbed at gunpoint on Oct. 18. Gary J. Pett, 42, of Ilion, was sentenced to 13 years for the robbery.
January 10, 2019 05:33 pm

CATSKILL — A Herkimer County man was sentenced to 13 years behind bars for robbing a Windham bank at gunpoint, the Greene County District Attorney’s Office said.

Gary J. Pett, 42, of Ilion, will also serve an additional five years post-release supervision as part of the sentence handed down Tuesday, according to the Greene County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday.

Pett was convicted Nov. 16 after he pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery, a class C violent felony.

“He received 13 years, plus he will be under the supervision of parole for five years after he is released,” Greene County District Attorney Joseph Stanzione said. “He deserves every day of that for the conduct he engaged in. It was a serious offense, and the sentence is appropriate for him.

“It is an appropriate sentence because of the mental anguish he inflicted on the bank personnel,” Stanzione said. “He took what appeared to be a gun and pointed it at least one individual, causing that person to fear for her life. Unfortunately, we are not able to establish it was a real gun because it was never recovered. But, nevertheless, the mental anguish that was inflicted was just horrible and more than anyone should have to endure.”

Pett admitted that on Oct. 18, he entered the NBT Bank of Windham, at 49 Route 296, displayed what appeared to be a pistol and stole a “substantial sum of money,” according to the District Attorney’s Office. State police declined to say how much money was stolen.

Pett wore a face mask, goggles and gloves to disguise his identity, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Three employees and two customers were inside the bank at the time of the robbery, state police Senior Investigator Pete Kusminsky said Oct. 19. No injuries were reported.

Pett fled the bank in a tan, four-door Chevrolet Impala and drove through the nearby towns of Ashland and Prattsville, then through Delaware and Schoharie counties before stopping in Herkimer County, according to police.

“I saw a gold Chevy Impala drive from the bank down South Street,” said Brandon Schoenborn, a Windham resident and an employee at Windham Mountain Outfitters on Oct. 19.

Schoenborn was working at the ski shop across the street from NBT Bank when the robbery took place. The store windows face the direction of the bank and offer a view of the surrounding area.

“The car had no license plates on it,” Schoenborn said. “It was about 15 or 20 minutes later when the cops showed up. There were so many cops here.”

Pett was found and arrested within about eight hours, police said in October. Pett and his vehicle were spotted in the city of Little Falls. Descriptions of Pett and his vehicle were sent to other state law enforcement agencies.

Middleburgh Fire Department First Lieutenant Kevin Dailey and Gilboa resident Nathan Holdridge were commended at Monday’s Greene County Legislature meeting for their efforts to help capture Pett.

Dailey spotted the Chevrolet Impala at the Red Apple Food and Grocery, 340 Main St., Middleburgh and reported it to police. Holdridge reported the arrest to police after seeing Pett speed past his car while he was driving west on Route 23 from Windham to Ashland.

Pett has been in jail without bail since his arrest in October.

Pett has two previous robbery convictions. He served prison time for second-degree robbery, a class C felony, beginning in 2008 in Herkmimer County, according to the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.

He also served time on two counts of third-degree robbery, a class D felony; and first-degree reckless endangerment, a class D felony; in Schenectady in 2001.

To reach reporter Amanda Purcell, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2500, or send an email to apurcell@thedailymail.net, or tweet to @amandajpurcell.