PORTLAND

Police probe similar robberies of pedestrians

Portland police are investigating a pair of similar armed robberies that occurred downtown about 10 p.m. Thursday.

A 43-year-old Portland man was walking on Cumberland Avenue near Chestnut Street when two men accosted him and demanded his wallet, with one showing a handgun, police said. The man ran.

Ten minutes later, in the same area, two women were confronted, apparently by the same men. In that case, the 45-year-old Falmouth woman and 40-year-old Cumberland woman turned over items to the men, then fled, police said.

There were no injuries.

One robber is described as a white male in his late teens or early 20s, 5 feet, 7 inches tall, thin and clean shaven. He was wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt with the hood up and a scarf covering a portion of his face, police said. The second man is described as in his 20s, 5 feet, 9 inches tall and with a slightly larger build. He wore a dark sweatshirt with the hood up and a dark scarf covering his face so the victims could not be sure of his skin color.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Portland police at 874-8575.

SANFORD

Two local men face charges after MDEA investigation

Two Sanford men face charges of dealing drugs following an undercover investigation by the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency in Sanford.

Agents with the MDEA charged Ryan Benoit, 23, with trafficking in crack cocaine and Joshua Downs, 18, with trafficking in marijuana.

Benoit was arrested at 3 p.m. Thursday while allegedly delivering crack cocaine to an undercover agent at the Mid-Town Mall in Sanford. Benoit ran when confronted by police but was caught by members of the Southern Maine Special Response Team. He had eight grams of crack cocaine and $1,900 with him, police said.

Police arrested Downs after a search of his house at 47 Theriault St. turned up 20 ounces of marijuana, scales and plants.

AUGUSTA

Handgun permit bill gets first approval by Senate

The Maine Senate has given its first nod to a bill overhauling the state’s concealed handgun permit system by limiting the municipalities that can give out permits.

The Democratic-led Senate endorsed the bill in a 20-13 vote Friday.

Under the bill, only municipalities with a full-time police chief could handle permits. It would also create a confidential centralized database of all permit holders.

The Senate rejected a proposed amendment that would have allowed all Mainers who are not otherwise prohibited to carry a concealed handgun without a permit. The House rejected a similar amendment Thursday.

Supporters of that amendment said it empowers residents to exercise their constitutional right to carry a firearm without restriction. But Democrats said the proposal would undermine the state’s concealed handgun system.

One moose-hunt lottery application deadline looms

The deadline to enter the lottery for a Maine moose hunting permit is rapidly approaching.

The state Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife reminds hunters that the deadline for paper applications is Monday. Online applicants have until midnight on May 14.

The department intends to issue 4,085 moose permits this year for 25 different wildlife management districts that encompass more than 21,000 square miles.

Last year, more than 55,000 people entered the moose lottery.

Lee Kantar, the department’s moose biologist, says the state’s moose population is “healthy and strong.”

The lottery winners will be announced June 14.

Maine’s moose hunt is segmented into four different seasons, with the first beginning Sept. 22, and the final season ending Nov. 29.

Online and paper applications are available at www.mefishwildlife.com.

OXFORD

Lewiston woman charged in armed road rage incident

A Lewiston woman is facing charges for allegedly pointing a loaded handgun at another motorist during what police call a case of road rage.

Oxford police say the confrontation occurred shortly after 3 p.m. Wednesday on Route 121.

Police told the Sun Journal that two women pulled their vehicles to the side of the road to “have words,” and Sandra L. Lambert pointed a .38-caliber Ruger pistol at the other driver, whose 5-year-old daughter was in the back seat of her car. Both women called police.

Lambert had a concealed weapons permit.

Police are unclear exactly what touched off the argument, but said it could be a case of tailgating.

The 56-year-old Lambert is charged with criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon. She is free on bail.

BOSTON

Tsarnaev says FBI asked brother to be informant

Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev say the FBI asked his older brother and fellow suspect to be an informant.

The lawyers asked a judge in court filings Friday to order prosecutors to turn over any evidence on brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev. They say that could help persuade a jury to spare Dzhokhar Tsarnaev the death penalty if it supports the defense theory Tamerlan was the “main instigator.”

The defense says it wants records of all FBI contact with Tamerlan based on information from the Tsarnaev family and others that the FBI “questioned Tamerlan about his Internet searches, and asked him to be an informant, reporting on the Chechen and Muslim community.”

Twin explosions at last year’s marathon killed three people. Tamerlan Tsarnaev later died in a shootout with police.5 million, but he wants a judgment “in case something ever happens” with Saunders or her finances.