NEWPORT — Police are trying to determine whether the same man is responsible for two robberies of a local Rite Aid, spaced exactly one month apart.

The Rite Aid, located at the intersection of routes 100 and 2, was robbed on Thursday, Aug. 16, and again on Sunday, Sept. 16.

In both cases, a white male wearing sunglasses made off with an undisclosed amount of drugs.

“There are certain similarities in the descriptions,” police Lt. Randy Wing said Monday. “At this time, we’re not ruling out the possibility that they’re related. We’re trying to analyze surveillance footage of both to do a comparison of the subjects.”

The suspect in Sunday’s robbery was described by police as six feet tall, in his 20s, medium build and “sporting scruffy beard growth.” He was wearing dark jeans, a black pullover sweatshirt with bright colored graphics on the front and wraparound sunglasses.

At about 2:05 p.m., the man displayed no weapon but presented a note demanding narcotics to the pharmacist, who gave him an undisclosed amount of drugs. No one was hurt in the incident.

The man left the scene on foot; Wing said a witness may have seen him getting into a silver new-model GM car in a large dirt parking lot for State Farm Insurance on Route 2. 

Wing asked that anyone who was in the immediate area at the time, or anyone with information about the incident or the suspect, call the Newport Police Department at 368-3263. He said that callers can remain anonymous if they wish to do so.

Wing said that rising numbers of pharmacy robberies are a major concern for law enforcement.
“Five to 10 years ago, I don’t think they really existed here,” he said, “It’s been a huge problem in recent years.”