Three years for man who robbed Jasper TD Bank
Mauro Parker will have more than two years to think about the note he slipped to a teller at the TD Bank branch in Jasper in April.
The 29-year-old was found guilty of robbery and theft of a motor vehicle and sentenced to 36 months in custody. After eight months of pre-trial credit, he will spend another 28 months behind bars. Parker was also ordered to submit a DNA sample.
Parker was originally charged with robbery, theft of a motor vehicle, mischief under $5,000, dangerous driving and breach of an undertaking.
Lesser could be one word to describe Parker’s sentence, as robbery charges carry a maximum penalty of life in prison, Judge J.P. Higgerty told the court in April.
Parker was arrested by RCMP on Apr. 11 after robbing the TD branch on Patricia Street before stealing a Shaw Cable van and fleeing to Hinton.
The TD Bank teller who dealt with Parker described the day to the court last week.
“It was a normal morning, and the bank had just opened,” she said.
“Someone approached the bank briefly while I was setting up.
“A man, who was the only person in the bank on the customer side of the wicket, slipped me a note written in pink ink saying, ‘this is a robbery. Quietly give me the money in the till and I’ll be on my way,’” she went on, adding she doesn’t recall him saying anything else.
Parker was wearing a hoodie and dark gloves, and was known to TD employees.
The TD employee dealing with Parker gave him $2,000 in cash, and then told her co-workers what had happened.
Two other TD Bank employees were unaware of the events unfolding no more than four feet away from them, the employee testified, but said she relied on robbery prevention training to get her through the tense moments. Even in their “morning huddles” the employees go over what to do in a robbery situation, she said.
“We have daily cash set up to give. We’re instructed to give whatever is asked, but the bank also has a decoy bag to give if possible. It has a couple hundreds on the top and bottom, and decoy cash in the middle,” she testified.
“They tell us never to touch the note, and to give the robber exactly what he wants,” she said.
In addition to her training, the TD employee said she gave Parker the money because she didn’t want anyone to get hurt. Though, she added based on the note and his general demeanor she didn’t get the impression he’d actually hurt anyone.
The TD employee said it has been difficult for her professionally after such a stressful situation.
“I never thought I’d be robbed, so I was constantly on edge going to work,” she said, adding it’s been getting better of late.
“I was worried it’d happen again. I’m nervous now.”
Parker’s mother sat in the courtroom clutching a Kleenex tight, having come all the way from Toronto to take in the trial.
At one point, the Crown prosecution played video of the robbery for the court, as the TD Bank employees, Parker’s mother, and Judge J.P. Higgerty crowded around a monitor to take in the video during a silent moment in the courtroom.
The defense pleaded for a lesser sentence, given Parker was in and out of the bank in one minute or less, he didn’t produce a weapon or reach into his hoodie to insinuate he had a weapon, and “(The TD employee) didn’t get the impression he’d actually hurt anyone.”
The Crown alleged Parker knew what he was doing. After being arrested, the Crown said RCMP questioned Parker about the note he passed to the TD employee, to which he said, “Yeah, that’s my writing. I was hoping she’d give me the money without any problems. I didn’t have a weapon.”
The Crown continued that when RCMP asked what Parker would’ve done if the TD employee hadn’t give up the cash, Parker replied, “I’d have taken it by force. I would’ve reached over the counter and grabbed some coin. I didn’t want to scare anyone, I just needed some cash.”
The Crown argued the word robbery itself connotes a threat given the unknowns of what’s going to happen, and his demeanor — even if he was unlikely to harm anyone — doesn’t mitigate the situation, given the TD employee acknowledged fearing for her safety, as well as his use and admitted understanding of the word ‘robbery.’