State police said Friday they are investigating whether three Utica men charged with robbing NBT Bank of Middleville earlier this month had any role in other recent robberies in New York state.

State police said Friday they are investigating whether three Utica men charged with robbing NBT Bank of Middleville earlier this month had any role in other recent robberies across the Mohawk Valley.

The following men are charged with first-degree robbery stemming from the Dec. 6 armed hold-up, state police Lt. Dave Krause said as he announced the arrests during a news conference: Victor Pett, 28; Donald Bianchi, 25; and Gary Pett, 31.

The three men were arrested after a tip to the Whitesboro Police Department earlier this week. After searching the Neilson Street residence, police recovered evidence
linking the men to the Middleville robbery, Krause said.

According to state police, a suspect wearing a blue windbreaker and gray hoodie entered the NBT Bank on 12 N. Main St. at about 2 p.m. Dec. 6.

That person displayed a handgun, demanded money and fled with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Krause would not say which man allegedly carried out the robbery, but he did say that all three were involved in planning and carrying out the hold-up.

All three suspects are being held in the Herkimer County jail on $150,000 bail or $300,000 bond.

State police had previously sought the public's help in identifying a possible “person of interest” seen leaving the NBT Bank after the robbery.

On Friday, Krause said police were able to locate and quickly eliminate that person as a suspect after his picture was publicized by the local news media.

Because there have been a number of recent bank robberies in the area, Krause said police will review whether any of the three suspects participated in, or have any information on, those crimes.

Among the banks robbed:

- Earlier this month, the First Source Federal Credit Union on Genesee Street in Utica was robbed at gunpoint by a man who fled on foot.

- In November, the Key Bank on Genesee Street in Utica was robbed at gunpoint by a masked suspect who fled on foot with an undisclosed amount of money.

- In October, the Bank of America on Mohawk Street in Utica, was robbed by a masked suspect who displayed a weapon before fleeing on foot with an unknown amount of cash.

Each of the Middleville bank robbery suspects has also previously served time in prison, according to the state Department of Correctional Services.

Gary Pett was released last month after serving a six-year sentence for robbery, the state correctional services Web site indicates.

In the 1990s, Gary Pett also spent several years in prison for burglary and grand larceny convictions.

Victor Pett is listed as a Level 2 sex offender after he spent three years in prison for the attempted sodomy of a 4-year-old girl, according to the state Sex Offender Registry.

Bianchi was released from prison in 2006 after serving a two-year sentence for criminal mischief, according to the state Web site.

State police were assisted by its CNET Central, New York State Parole, the Whitesboro Police Department, Oneida County Probation and the Utica office of the FBI.

Observer-Dispatch