January 23, 2013

Augusta CVS robbed for third time in a year

The suspect escaped with undisclosed amount of prescription drugs, say police.

By Susan McMillan smcmillan@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA — A city pharmacy that was robbed twice last year was hit once more Tuesday afternoon, and police are searching for a suspect who escaped with an undisclosed amount of prescription drugs.

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Contributed photo

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ROBBED: Cpl. G.J. Neagle of the Kennebec County Sheriff's Office speaks on the radio late Tuesday afternoon outside the CVS pharmacy on Stone Street in Augusta moments after it was reportedly robbed. Police were pursuing the robbers on foot, by vehicle and with dogs, such as Neagle's.

Staff photo by Andy Molloy

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Police responded about 4 p.m. to the CVS pharmacy on Stone Street, near Cony Circle, and were searching for a lone robber who reportedly fled on foot and appeared to be still in the area.

The robber was described as a white man wearing faded blue jeans, dark shoes, a black-and-white knit winter hat with ear flaps, white gloves, a white scarf, a blue-and-white winter jacket and a blue neck warmer pulled over his lower face. The suspect appeared to be in his late 20s to early 30s, between 5 feet, 5 inches and 5 feet, 7 inches tall and between 150 and 170 pounds.

According to a release from the Augusta Police Department, pharmacy employees reported that the man walked to the prescription counter and demanded medication. He did not display a weapon.

Employees passed him an undisclosed amount of medication and he fled the store on foot.

Investigators later found several dropped pill bottles while searching the area.

The store at 2 Stone St., one of two CVS pharmacies in Augusta, was robbed most recently on May 8. Prior to that, the store had been robbed on Feb. 13. Police later made arrests in both cases.

"This has been the trend, from 2012 to 2013," Augusta police Lt. Christopher Massey said. "We'd obviously like to see a decrease in the number of (robberies at) pharmacies, not only in the city but across the state, but I'm not sure we're going to."

During 2012, Augusta was ground zero for pharmacy robberies, which police say are mostly fueled by prescription drug abuse.

The state saw 54 pharmacy robberies in 2012, increase of 30 over the year before. Of the 2012 total, nine were in Augusta -- more than any other municipality in Maine.

After the ninth robbery, city police said they apprehended suspects in seven of the nine cases and were following up on leads in the other two. Nobody was hurt in any of the robberies, three of which took place at the CVS pharmacy on Capitol Street.

Susan McMillan -- 621-5645
smcmillan@mainetoday.com

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