FITCHBURG — A Fitchburg woman was arrested following a thirty-minute crime spree that ended with a bank robbery on the afternoon of Monday, Aug. 29.
At 3:08 p.m., Melissa Kotila, a 43-year-old personal care attendant who lives on Hartford Street, was caught on camera at the CVS located at 161 Main Street, stealing adhesive bandages.
After leaving the CVS, Kotila went to the Webster First Federal Credit Union. According to the Supplemental Narrative of Fitchburg Police Officer Grant Jensen, an employee of On Duty Chimney Service, parked the company van in the credit union’s parking lot and went into the bank with the keys in the ignition, engine running and doors unlocked.
According to an employee of the credit union who witnessed the incident – which was also caught on camera – at 3:37 p.m., the witness said a heavy-set woman with purple hair, wearing a grey t-shirt with the word “PAPA” written on a bear, a white eyepatch over her left eye and medical mask covering her mouth, came into Webster First and tossed off her medical mask into a trash can near the island in the middle of the bank. She then promptly left the bank, stole the On Duty Chimney Service van and drove out of the parking lot, heading outbound on North Street in the direction of Fitchburg State.
Eight minutes later, at 3:45 p.m., Kotila arrived at the IC Federal Credit Union located at 300 Bemis Road. According to Officer Ryan Kreidler’s Personnel Narrative for the incident, a teller at the bank said Kotila stood in the center of the bank writing on a withdrawal slip before approaching her window.
Kotila then slid the slip to the teller. Written on the slip was a note demanding money, which said, “Give me all the money. I will f$cking hurt you! No dye packs. No f$cking funny shit. My uncle is a state cop.”
The teller, who was in tears when Officer Kreidler arrived, said she then emptied her drawer, giving Kotila $4,590 in cash. Once Kotila fled with the cash in the On Duty Chimney van, the teller hit the silent alarm. Kotila was unarmed during the robbery.
According to police, after robbing the bank, Kotila went to the old Kmart Plaza on Whalon Street, parked in front of the Subway and attempted to purchase a phone at the Xfinity store located at 975 Merriam Avenue, Suite 121.
According to Officer Daniel Minichiel, who located the stolen van, while he was “securing” the vehicle, an employee of Xfinity came out of the store to tell him what transpired and show him video she captured of Kotila on her phone.
“While speaking with [the Xfinity employee], she informed me that the female, later identified as Melissa Kotila, came into the store and asked to buy a phone and told her that she had cash,” wrote Officer Minichiel in his Supplemental Narrative for the incident. “[The employee] stated that she could see a large bulge in Melissa’s bra and that Melissa grabbed it and told her that she had cash.”
The employee said she told Kotila she couldn’t purchase a phone without an Xfinity account, at which point Kotila left the store and headed over to Hannaford Supermarket.
According to Officer Brian Gelinas, who was part of the team that apprehended Kotila, she was located in the supermarket with a shopping bag.
According to Officer Gelinas’ Supplemental Narrative for the incident, after he ordered Kotila to drop the bag and put her hands behind her back, Kotila informed him that the bag she had dropped to the floor was full of money.
Kotila was arrested and charged with the following: Larceny of a Motor Vehicle, Unarmed Robbery, Larceny under $1,200 (for the CVS theft), Intimidate to Steal from Depository, Operating a Motor Vehicle with a Suspended License (Subsequent Offense).
Kotila’s bail was set at $7,500.
She was arraigned in Fitchburg District Court on Aug. 30, a motion hearing was then held on Sept. 7, she had a pretrial conference hearing on Sept. 22, which was continued to Oct. 18.
Disclaimer: If you are wondering why the incident in this story was from late August, that’s because I had to file multiple FOIA requests to get the court documents for the incident. FOIAs are time consuming.