Pittsfield man gets 7-8 years for S. Hadley bank robberies

  • This surveillance image from Jan. 7, 2016, shows Mike Bedford in the process of robbing the Berkshire Bank at 74 Lamb St., South Hadley. NORTHWESTERN DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE

  • Mike Bedford, 43, pleaded guilty Wednesday, March 21, 2018, in Hampshire Superior Court to four counts of armed and masked robbery. He is pictured on surveillance footage from Dec. 8, 2016, when he robbed the Berkshire Bank, at 74 Lamb St., South Hadley. —Northwestern district attorney’s office

  • Mike Bedford, 43, pleaded guilty Wednesday, March 21, 2018, in Hampshire Superior Court to four counts of armed and masked robbery. He is pictured on surveillance footage from Dec. 8, 2016, when he robbed the Berkshire Bank, at 74 Lamb St., South Hadley. —Northwestern district attorney’s office

@ecutts_HG
Published: 3/22/2018 12:00:43 AM

NORTHAMPTON — A Pittsfield man was sentenced Wednesday to 7 to 8 years in state prison for robbing the same South Hadley bank with a large kitchen knife twice in less than a year.

Mike Bedford, 43, pleaded guilty in Hampshire Superior Court to four counts of armed and masked robbery. The charges stem from two robberies at the Berkshire Bank, 74 Lamb St., in January and December 2016.

He was arrested March 17, 2017, after police received an anonymous tip and an investigation by the South Hadley and Pittsfield police departments and the Berkshire County Special Response Team.

Bedford has also been charged with armed and masked robbery in connection with a December 2015 incident at Pittsfield’s Greylock Federal Credit Union. He is expected to change his not-guilty plea in that case later this week, his attorney, Alan Rubin, told the court.

Around 5:45 p.m. on Jan. 7, 2016, Bedford entered the Berkshire Bank wearing a large hood, gloves and a mask. He brandished an 8-to-10-inch kitchen knife and told two bank employees to “give me the money and no one gets hurt,” First Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Steven Gagne said in court.

Bedford was in the bank for about 40 seconds and made off with around $6,500 in cash, authorities said.

Approximately 11 months later, on Dec. 8, 2016, Bedford returned to the same bank. He entered the bank around 5:15 p.m., wearing gloves, a hood and a skeleton mask and brandishing a large kitchen knife, Gagne said.

Carrying an open bag, Bedford told the tellers to “fill it up, ladies.” He received about $4,774 in cash and was out of the bank in under a minute, Gagne said.

Gagne argued for a state prison sentence of 8 to 10 years followed by three years of probation.

“These were terrifying events for these clerks,” Gagne said.

The four tellers involved in the two incidents were not in court and did not submit victim impact statements. One of the tellers quit her job because of the incident, according to Gagne.

The prosecutor continued that Bedford’s only motivation was that he was behind on his rent at the time.

“He decided to make an involuntary withdrawal from these banks,” Gagne said.

In arguing for a five-year state prison sentence, Rubin said the bank robberies were an act of desperation in many ways.

Rubin told the court the reason Bedford was in such financial straits was that all the money he had was going toward alcohol — an issue Bedford had been reluctant to acknowledge or address.

“Five years is a very long time in state prison for someone who has done no time,” Rubin said.

Judge Mary-Lou Rup sentenced Bedford to 7 to 8 years in state prison followed by two years of probation. Bedford will receive credit for 369 days he has already served.

Emily Cutts can be reached at ecutts@gazettenet.com.


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