LAKE GEORGE — A South Glens Falls man with a long criminal record was arrested early Saturday in connection with the robbery of a bank in Lake George hours earlier, and police were seeking the public’s help in the investigation of his alleged role, police said.
Nelson L. Gouge, 45, of Clearview Motel, was being held on an unrelated arrest warrant, and was expected to be charged with felony robbery for the 1:04 p.m. holdup Friday at the Trustco Bank branch on Route 9L in Lake George, Warren County Sheriff Bud York said.
“We do have a person of interest in custody on a warrant from Glens Falls and the investigation is continuing,” sheriff’s Lt. Steve Stockdale said.
York said police are looking for the public’s help in tracking Gouge’s activity Friday, so his name was publicly released before any charges related to the robbery were filed.
Police said he is believed to be the man who went in to the bank, handed the teller a note indicating he had a gun, and made off with several thousand dollars. No gun was displayed.
Police said a surveillance photo from the bank led to numerous tips from the public and law enforcement that Gouge resembled the thief.
York said staff at Warren County Jail quickly noticed that the man in the picture resembled Gouge, who was in the jail on felony charges for several months last year and has been jailed repeatedly in recent years.
“He is someone our staff is familiar with through prior dealings with him,” York said.
Once Gouge was identified as a possible suspect, police had to find where he was, and he was tracked to the Route 9 motel shortly before 1 a.m. Police were searching his motel room based on a warrant Saturday morning and afternoon.
York said police were not releasing whether the stolen money had been recovered.
He said multiple police agencies were involved in the effort.
“We had great help from the State Police, Glens Falls Police Department and South Glens Falls Police Department,” York said.
Gouge was being held in Warren County Jail without bail later Saturday on a warrant for felony aggravated criminal contempt in Glens Falls, as police worked to determine what charges will be filed for the bank robbery.
The sheriff asked that anyone who saw Gouge or had interaction with him Friday before or after the robbery contact his agency at 518-743-2500.
Gouge has at least two prior felony convictions, and was arrested last March for an incident in which he allegedly stole a car and debit card from a woman.
He was charged with fourth-degree grand larceny, a felony, and misdemeanor counts of petit larceny, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and non-criminal harassment in that case, according to Glens Falls Police records.
Gouge was on parole at the time for a 2013 aggravated criminal contempt conviction that also involved theft of a vehicle from a woman, and has a 2009 felony criminal contempt conviction as well, state corrections records show. He was sentenced to 2 to 4 years in prison for the 2013 case, and his parole ended last June.