A New Milford man accused of holding up the Webster Bank branch on Main Street with a handgun Jan. 18 and then engaging in a five-hour standoff with police pleaded not guilty at state Superior Court here last Friday.

Preston Hanlon, 27, held on $500,000 bond, was granted a special public defender, Donald O'Brien of Avon, and had his criminal case continued until March 4, according to court officials.

A second suspect, Mr. Hanlon's roommate, Michael (Micah) Joel Thaisz, 24, was scheduled for arraignment in the Litchfield court Tuesday.

Mr. Hanlon is charged with first-degree robbery, first-degree larceny, conspiracy to commit first-degree robbery, and conspiracy to commit first-degree larceny.

Mr. Thaisz is charged with aiding and abetting first-degree robbery, aiding and abetting first-degree larceny, and two counts of conspiracy to commit robbery and larceny.

Police said they caught Mr. Hanlon after witnesses saw him board a Housatonic Area Regional Transit bus at Bridge Street and Young's Field Road minutes after the robbery. Police later discovered the alleged handgun used was plastic.

Police said Mr. Thaisz said he knew Mr. Hanlon intended to rob the bank and helped with the planning. He gave Mr. Hanlon the supposed gun and clothing he wore for the robbery, police said.

The robbery was the talk of the town when it occurred, since it tied up traffic from Route 7 South into Brookfield. FBI investigators assisted local police in questioning the two suspects.