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Drug using Stratford man sentenced to nearly 9 years for 5 bank jobs

August 7, 2018

HARTFORD-Seeing the gun pointed at her, a Shelton People’s United bank teller could only think “about my teenage son and what he would do if something happened to me.”

Another from a June 5 robbery in Westbrook recalled how she was told to “sit the (expletive deleted) down or he would shoot me.”

A third from the June 10,2017 People’s United bank robbery in New Haven asked the court “to hold Bryce Laister accountable for the bank robbery. He traumitized me.”

On Tuesday, Senior U.S. District Judge Alfred V. Covello held Laister, accountable sentencing him to 8 years and 11 months in prison and ordering him to make restitution of $25,279.

Laister, 26, formerly of Bridgeport, Fairfield and Stratford, is an admitted substance abuser dating back to age 12 years when he began smoking marijuana regularly. He later graduated to cocaine, heroin and benzodizepine.

Assistant U. S. Public Defender Ross Thomas told Covello in court papers that Laister was using 15-20 bags of heroin and four to eight “benzos” daily.

Laister was arrested June 15, 2017 after a two-hour stand-off with police and federal marshals at his Stratford home.

The arrest occurred just five days after he pulled his last bank job—a $3,384 heist from the People’s United branch inside the Stop and Shop on Amity Road in New Haven.

Previously he robbed the Webster Bank on Merwin Avenue, Milford of $5,791 on Nov. 30, 2016; Key banks in Plainville of $3,053 on April 7, 2017 and the one in Westbrook of $5,800 on May 5, 2017 and the People’ United Bank inside the Stop and Shop on Bridgeport Avenue in Shelton on May 30, 2017 of $7,251.

“On five occasions hard-working and law-abiding citizens in Connecticut went to work as bank tellers,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Kaplan told the judge. “...they were terrorized by the defendant who robbed them, sometimes threatening to shoot them.”

Kaplan pointed out that Laister has three prior state court felony convictions for possession of narcotics, grand larceny and third-degree burglary.

The prosecutor asked for a sentence of 10 years and five months in prison.

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