A man convicted of two bank robberies and the armed robbery of a pharmacy in Springfield in 2016 has been sentenced to seven years, eight months in prison and three years' supervised release. He was also ordered to pay restitution to the pharmacy of $230.71.
Michael Bickford, 38, formerly of Perkinsville, Vermont was sentenced in federal district court in Burlington, Vermont for crimes committed between October and December 2016. In a three-month crime spree, Bickford began by robbing the Windsor County South Credit Union in Springfield on Oct. 18. Armed with a handgun, Bickford stole a credit union employee's car keys and took $3,324 from the credit union.
On November 10, 2016, Bickford again used a handgun to demand money from the Mascoma Savings Bank in Springfield, taking about $12,000 and stealing a truck from a bank employee.
A month later, early in the morning of Dec. 5, Bickford held up the River Street Pharmacy in Springfield. Wearing a dark mask and using a pistol, Bickford went to the counter, pointed the pistol at an employee, and demanded prescription medications. When that employee went to get the medications, Bickford pointed the gun at another employee. When the first employee returned with the medications, Bickford left the pharmacy.
The pharmacy owner was able to identify Bickford to police, as Bickford had been filling prescriptions at that pharmacy for more than two years.
Police attempted to arrest Bickford later that day but he was able to evade pursuit in his Mini Cooper. An armed standoff with police ended with Bickford's arrest at Knapp Pond in Cavendish. Police found the loaded pistol in his vehicle as well as prescription medications and pill bottles stolen from the pharmacy.
Bickford pleaded guilty to the bank robberies and pharmacy robbery in 2017, offering guilty pleas in exchange for his sentence being capped at 8 years. Normally a robbery charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years, with use of a firearm allowing a maximum sentence of life in prison.
-- GLYNIS HART