Man pleads guilty to botched robbery involving fake bomb

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A Maine man has pleaded guilty to multiple armed bank robberies including the botched robbery of a Connecticut credit union during which he strapped a bank executive with a fake bomb.

Forty-five-year-old Brian Witham, of Waterville, Maine, appeared Tuesday in federal court in Knoxville.

The Hartford Courant reports ( Witham and another man broke into bank executive Matthew Yussman’s home on Feb. 23. They tied up his 70-year-old mother and strapped a fake bomb to Yussman before ordering him to withdraw money from Achieve Financial Credit Union in New Britain, Connecticut. Yussman called police.

Witham is charged with robberies and extortions in Tennessee, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. He also forced bank executives in the Tennessee cases to withdraw money.

His co-defendant, 43-year-old Michael Benanti, of Lake Harmony, Pennsylvania, awaits trial.