Serial bank robber gets four years in prison
OPP PHOTO Tristan Marois Drouin has been sentenced to four years in prison following a string of bank robberies last year including branches in Quinte West, Napanee and Kingston.
The Blue Jays bandit has been caged.
The 30-year-old Quebec man who robbed eight Ontario banks, including banks in Kingston, Napanee, Quinte West and Cobourg, pleaded guilty at the Quinte Courthouse in Belleville on Friday and was sentenced to four years along with a lifetime weapons ban. He will also be subjected to a DNA sample.
Tristan Marois Drouin, who the court heard drove a gold Cadillac and often wore a Toronto Blue Jays hat and passed the tellers notes threatening to use a weapon if they refused to hand over the cash, stole $9,800, plus $2,200 in American currency.
Donning a green T-shirt and the brown beard identified by the tellers, a burly Drouin stood before Justice Stephen Hunter and apologized for the spate of robberies committed between August and December 2016.
“I’m really sorry for anyone I might have affected ... especially the tellers,” Drouin said from the prisoner’s box before being escorted away by officers. “I didn’t want to hurt anyone.”
Drouin was held Dec. 16 by an observant OPP officer at the Trenton ONroute shortly after he had robbed Bowmanville and Cobourg bank branches. The Cobourg robbery happened at the Royal Bank in the downtown. He was arrested for eight counts of robbery with the threat of violence.
Police later seized items tying him to the various robberies, including cash, robbery notes and the clothing he wore.
“At the Quinte West detachment, he provided a statement admitting to all eight robberies,” the court heard. “He advised investigators he was unemployed and robbing banks to pay his living expenses.”
Hunter was puzzled how a man with no record suddenly decided to jumpstart his criminal career by hitting eight banks. Locations in Richmond Hill, Toronto, Oshawa were also robbed.
“Despite 26 years on the bench, the oddity of human behaviour continues to surprise me,” Hunter said before levying his sentence.
He said that despite Drouin not being on the criminal radar, he was easily identified from surveillance footage and confessed to committing the acts.
“Four years in custody from this date,” Hunter said. The judge issued a forfeiture order for the funds found and assistant Crown attorney Michael Lunski said individual banks will have to decide if they want to take further civil action to recoup the balance.
Lunski sought a four-year term, on the grounds of the egregious act having a “serious effect on the victims. Some of these victims have difficulty serving clients who resemble Drouin.”
Some of the tellers have also missed work.
He said that even though Drouin was never found with a gun, the very threat of it was enough to do damage.
“At the time of the offences, he was unemployed and living in a apartment in Gatineau, Que.,” Lunski said.
In September, he robbed the Royal Bank in Napanee.
“He waited in line, approached the teller and handed her a typed note that stated, ‘This is a robbery, I am armed. Put 5,000 in a envelope and give it to me. Do not put the dye pack or sound the alarm or I will have to come back,’” Lunski read from the agreed statement of facts.
He was given $500 and he fled on foot.
In November, he hit the Royal Bank in Trenton the same way he had robbed four banks previously.
“He said this was a robbery and he was armed,” Lunski said. “The teller gave him $500, which included $200 from the holdup bundle containing serial numbers.”
Only a fraction of the stolen cash was recovered, with C$6,780 and US$2,000 still outstanding
Defence lawyer Jason Easton agreed to much of the joint submission but pleaded for some leniency. He said the Gatineau man worked at a call centre before being laid off.
Drouin’s desperation to make ends meet was motivation for the crimes, Easton said.
“He decided that he was going to make ends meet by committing armed robberies,” he said. “He continued to do it.”
Easton noted mental health issues, saying Drouin is bipolar and has struggled with anxiety and depression.
“He was ready to plead guilty at a early stage,” he said. “He deserves some credit for that.”