WATERVILLE – Police believe the man who held up the Waterville Savings Bank of Maine on Wednesday is the same man who robbed a credit union on Quarry Road in September. In both cases, the robber wore a mask and had a large knife, Waterville Deputy Police Chief Charles Rumsey said Thursday.

He said surveillance photos show the man in each of the two robberies was the same height, the same stature and wore similar clothing, white cotton gloves and brought a cloth bag into the bank to put the money in.

“It’s the same MO,” Rumsey said. “In and out of the bank very fast; the bag, the gloves, the physical stature, the mask, the hooded sweatshirt.”

There have been six bank robberies in central Maine since August and several armed holdups of pharmacies.

“It’s always about drugs,” state Public Safety spokesman Steve McCausland said Thursday. “These are not destitute people who are looking for money to feed their families or clothe their children; these are desperate drug abusers looking to get another fix. The vast majority of the bank robberies that have occurred in Maine in recent years have a drug connection.”

Former Waterville Police Chief John Morris, now commissioner of the Maine Department of Public Safety, said earlier this year that robberies in Maine rose 4.3 percent in 2010. Robberies also increased in 2009 by almost 20 percent, he said.

“In addition to cocaine and heroin, Maine has seen significant increases in the abuse of prescription medication and that demand leads to burglaries and robberies to feed the state’s drug habits,” Morris said in May.

Rumsey said the robber Wednesday was in and out of the bank in about a minute. The HealthFirst Federal Credit Union on Quarry Road is only a short distance away and each robbery happened at about the same time of day, Rumsey said.

Wednesday’s armed robbery on Upper Main Street came just 48 hours after another robbery at the Bank of America on Main Street on Monday.

In that incident, William Bruce Adamchak, 48, of Waterville, was arrested after four bystanders helped catch him. Adamchak is being held on $500,000 bail at the Kennebec County Jail in Augusta.

In the savings bank robbery Wednesday, Rumsey said the man was seen leaving in an older model green Subaru hatchback just before 4 p.m. The robber had parked the car near the bank’s front entrance, approached a female teller and demanded money. He put an undisclosed amount of cash into the bag and drove off, quickly turning left onto nearby High Street.

Rumsey said police believe the robber acted alone. He said police, assisted by agents from the FBI’s Augusta office, are interviewing people in the area for clues on the fleeing car and the robber.

Rumsey said police have a number of solid leads on Wednesday’s robbery and its connection to the credit union robbery in September, but are appealing to the community for information.

“The person that committed both of these robberies lives somewhere. He has neighbors, he has friends, he has family, he has enemies,” Rumsey said. “Somebody knows something about this person and needs to call us and give us that information.”

Anonymous tips can be left at www.watervillepolice.org, or called in to 680-4700.

Doug Harlow can be contacted at 612-2367 or at [email protected]