Suspect in spring robberies charged in one

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PORTLAND — A man suspected in a string of robberies in greater Portland this spring has been charged for one of them in Westbrook.

Travis Card, 38, who had been staying in Westbrook, was arraigned June 23 in U.S. District Court in Portland for interference with commerce by threats in connection with an armed robbery April 6 at the Gulf Mart on Bridgton Road in Westbrook. 

In that robbery, a white man carrying a black handgun and wearing a ski mask, purple gloves, brown workboots and a hooded jacket made off with $616, according to Patrick Clancy, a special agent with the FBI. The description matches that of the robber in 10 other robbery attempts from March 20 to April 11 in Cumberland, Falmouth, Old Orchard Beach, Portland, South Portland and Westbrook.

The Gulf Mart robber’s voice was picked up on the store’s surveillance system, Clancy said, and Card’s former probation officer, Catherine Fisher reviewed the audio and “believed the voice of the robber” was Card. Fisher supervised Card over a 32-month period from 2014 to 2017, he said.

After the robbery, police received a call from a resident of the Villa Park apartment complex next to the Gulf Mart about a “suspicious vehicle” parked at the complex the night of the robbery. The resident described the vehicle as a “large black pickup truck with swoosh or a wave on the side.” Four days before the April 6 robbery, Card called the Westbrook Police Department to report a hit and run involving his work truck, a 2009 dark Chevrolet Silverado that belonged to Watermatic Irrigation and fit the resident’s description of the suspicious vehicle.

Evidence connects Card to the other robberies or attempted robberies that took place, Clancy said, including at Riverton Gas Station in Portland (March 20), Lil’ Mart in Falmouth (March 21), Good Things Variety in Westbrook and Express Mart in Cumberland (March 22), Daily Grind in Westbrook (March 24), China Taste Restaurant in Portland (March 25), Subway in Westbrook (March 26), Aroma Joe’s in South Portland (March 27), China Eatery in Old Orchard Beach (March 29) and Moby Dick Variety and Motel in Old Orchard Beach (April 11).

Clancy said Card’s cell phone data showed it “was in the general area of each of the robberies” when they took place. Card’s phone indicated he was near the Gulf Mart six minutes before the robbery.

Video surveillance from the Riverton Gas Station robbery March 20 showed the robber wearing dark colored Under Armour sneakers “with a white bottom and white lettering.” Westbrook Police received a tip about a discarded Under Armour shoe on Methodist Road. A DNA analysis of a swab of that sneaker matched Card’s on-file profile, Clancy said.  The sneaker tread was “consistent” with footprints in the snow photographed after the robberies at the Express Mart and Subway.

Card has had run ins with the law before, including convictions in 2013 for felony burglary, misdemeanor taking or transfer and violating condition of release and in 2015 for felony burglary of a motor vehicle, felony theft by unauthorized taking or transfer and misdemeanor criminal mischief.

According to the United States Attorney’s Office, if convicted in the Gulf Mart robbery, Card could face up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Michael Kelley can be reached at 781-3661 x 125 or mkelley@keepmecurrent.com or on Twitter @mkelleynews.

Travis Card

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