December 7, 2013

Biddeford armed robbery spree ends in suicide

Tyler Trottier, 27, shoots himself in the chest inside his downtown King Street apartment as police try to negotiate his surrender.

By David Hench
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Police tried to negotiate with Tyler Trottier, 27, the suspect in a string of robberies, at 12 King St. in Biddeford.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette / Staff Photographer

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Biddeford Police Chief Roger Beaupre speaks with the media at the Biddeford Police Department on Friday.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Additional Photos Below

“It was really nerve-wracking. I’m glad nobody else got hurt,” said Tammy Ackerman, owner of Engine, a Main Street boutique.

Bea Lan, who works at Yummy House, a Chinese restaurant across the street from the police station, said his boss’s wife had to take a vacation after being robbed Sunday.

The owner ran after the robber, Lan said, chasing the robber past the police station and losing him on King Street, just a block away from the station.

Officers scoured the area but could not find him. Trottier could almost see the station from his house.

Asked about the proximity to the station, Beaupre said: “Just because you live near a firehouse don’t mean your house won’t burn down.”

Police had learned some of the robber’s methods, including the fact that he tended to linger near a business, waiting until there were no customers inside. He didn’t get a lot of money either. Beaupre estimated about $4,000 was stolen in the 10 robberies.

When police were alerted to Thursday’s robbery, dozens of cruisers, representing state, county, municipal and even federal authorities – which had been positioned to respond to another robbery – surged into the downtown hoping to encircle the suspect. A total of 54 officers participated in the task force, Beaupre said.

“The purpose was to lock down (the area) and create a net to prevent the person form leaving,” Beaupre said.

But Trottier was able to slip through, in part because he only had a couple blocks to go before he could be safely in his second floor apartment.


The police response also hit a couple of snags. Witnesses who saw two men chasing the robber, thought the pair in pursuit had committed the robbery. Suddenly police had three very different suspect descriptions. Some people taken into custody turned out to be unrelated to the case.

There also was a delay in reporting the robber. Beaupre had encouraged a local civic group to save time by programming the direct number to Biddeford police into their cellphones. That way, rather than dialing 911 and having the call routed to the state police regional dispatch center in Gray, then relayed to Biddeford, the call would go directly to the city’s emergency dispatchers.

Anna Lin remembered getting a flier from the group with those instructions, but she didn’t have her cellphone and couldn’t remember the number. So she did an Internet search for the Biddeford Police Department and dialed a general number that eventually routed her to records. By the time the call was transferred to emergency dispatchers, a precious 90 seconds had elapsed.

Beaupre said a review of security video shows that a State Police cruiser drove by City Hall 15 seconds after the getaway car had passed.

Police did catch a break though. Thursday’s robbery was during the daytime, so surveillance video from a nearby business was relatively clear.

Video showed the robber running toward Center Street and, moments later, a pickup truck leaving the area. The gray GMC Sierra had distinctive items – a bicycle, a spare tire and a large plastic bucket – in the back. It slowed but didn’t stop for two separate stop signs.

Police began searching for the pickup and an officer found it on King Street. Police ran the plate number, found that Trottier was the registered owner and called him on his cellphone.

Police reached Trottier in his second-floor apartment and tried to convince him to come out, telling him that his truck had been in a crash. A doubtful Trottier then looked outside and saw numerous police officers, including members of the state police tactical team.

(Continued on page 3)

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Additional Photos

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Biddeford Police Chief Roger Beaupre speaks with the media at the Biddeford Police Department on Friday.

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Police located Tyler Trottier’s pickup after it was caught on surveillance video leaving the scene of a robbery Thursday.


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