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Thadius Romanowski of Holyoke sentenced to two to three years in state prison for robbing Northampton bank

GAZETTE FILE PHOTO
An surveillance image released by police shows a suspect in a February 2012 robbery at the Florence Savings Bank on King Street in Northampton.

GAZETTE FILE PHOTO An surveillance image released by police shows a suspect in a February 2012 robbery at the Florence Savings Bank on King Street in Northampton. Purchase photo reprints »

Romanowski plead guilty to one count of unarmed robbery and four counts of larceny over $250.

Romanowski’s defense lawyer argued for a five-year probation period instead of jail time, citing the efforts Romanowski has made to live drug free since the robbery.

Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Jeremy Bucci, who prosecuted the case, said Romanowski, 34, has 19 prior convictions on his record, including nine felonies and four jail sentences, and a history of violating probation.

“At this point, a state prison term is something the defendant has earned,” Bucci told Judge Mary-Lou Rup.

Romanowski’s attorney, Jonah Goldsmith of the Committee for Public Counsel Services, said he recognized the seriousness of the charges and acknowledged his client’s record, but said his recent efforts to kick a long-running heroin habit demonstrated his commitment to turn his life around.

Goldsmith said Romanowski’s troubles with the law have all been drug related and were “impulsive and desperate acts,” to keep feeding his habit.

Romanowski had no legal troubles during a four-year period of sobriety, Goldsmith said. “When sober, he’s productive,” Goldsmith said.

Rup lauded Romanowski’s efforts, but felt obligated to impose the state prison sentence, leaving open the opportunity for a transfer to a county jail if the Department of Corrections deems it appropriate.

She told Romanowski that if he is transferred, he should take full advantage of the substance abuse treatment programs available.

“You’re not only killing yourself, but you’re making your family’s life very difficult,” Rup said.

Romanowski admitted to stealing a purse in November 2011 and a pair of backpacks in January 2012, all of which contained items with a combined value of more than $250.

He also admitted to entering the Florence Savings Bank branch on King Street in Northampton on Feb. 3, 2012, handing the teller a note saying he had a bomb and demanding money.

Romanowski left the bank with about $1,600. He was arrested about four days later after being identified in part by surveillance video from the bank.

A search of Romanowski’s home recovered the items stolen in the previous crimes, Bucci said.

After his incarceration, Romanowski will be on probation for three years, during which time he must remain drug and alcohol free and submit to random screenings, and must attend whatever substance abuse counseling and treatment the Probation Department deems appropriate.

He was given credit for 173 days already served in jail.

Bob Dunn can be reached at bdunn@gazettenet.com.

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