MANCHESTER — Police say a man robbed the Rite Aid pharmacy on U.S. Route 202 on Sunday afternoon, the first such robbery in the greater Augusta area this year.
Sgt. David Bucknam of the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office said the suspect is a man in his late 20s who walked into the pharmacy at 12:10 p.m. Sunday and demanded prescription drugs. He kept a hand in his sweatshirt and said he had a gun, but one wasn’t shown, Bucknam said.
After getting an undisclosed amount of oxycodone, a prescription painkiller, and methylphenidate, a drug used to treat hyperactivity, the suspect then fled the store on foot, walking west toward Winthrop, the sheriff’s office said in a statement.
Police don’t know where he went after that. There are no security cameras on the side of the building and a police dog couldn’t track the suspect, who could have left on a bicycle or in a vehicle at the end of the building, the sheriff’s office said.
The suspect has a red beard, stands between 5-foot-9 and 5-foot-11 and weighs approximately 200 pounds, Bucknam said. Security photographs show he was wearing a gray New York Yankees cap, a black, full-zip hoodie over a black T-shirt with gray gym shorts.
The Manchester pharmacy was last robbed in 2011. Pharmacy robberies were once a crime epidemic in Maine, with a record of 58 in 2012. That year, Augusta had the statewide high of nine. But that number has plunged since, which many have attributed to heroin becoming a cheaper substitute for people addicted to prescription painkillers.
The Sunday robbery was the first in the greater Augusta area since November 2013, when the Osco pharmacy at the Shaw’s supermarket on Augusta’s Western Avenue was robbed twice in two days. A Gardiner man pleaded guilty to those robberies in April.
Anyone with tips about the Manchester robbery can call Bucknam at 623-3591, ext. 1312.