June 20, 2012

Three arrested after pharmacy robbery

By Craig Crosby ccrosby@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA -- Two city men are facing charges after Monday's robbery at a Capitol Street pharmacy led police to search a nearby Glenwood Street home.

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Augusta Police Dept. Detective Tori Tracy holds a knife recovered from a vehicle she searched Tuesday with Det. Sgt. Matt Clark at 21 Glenwood Street in Augusta. Jennifer Dowling and Michael Pierce were arrested after drug agents and police agents executed a search warrant at the home.

Staff photo by Andy Molloy

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Jennifer Dowling waits to be transported to jail Tuesday morning after being arrested by Augusta police on drug possession charges after drug agents and Augusta police executed a search warrant at 21 Glenwood Street in Augusta.

Staff photo by Andy Molloy

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Michael Pierce, 32, and Jeffrey Hodgkins, 31, were each charged with robbery in connection the holdup at the Capitol Street CVS. Pierce also was charged with an additional count of robbery for his alleged role in a May 8 holdup at the CVS at 2 Stone St., said Detective Sgt. Matthew Clark, of the Augusta police.

Clark said a man entered the Capitol Street CVS around 8 p.m. Monday and, both with a note and orally, demanded OxyContin.

"He gave them a time frame to get the pills or he was going to start shooting, but he never displayed a weapon," Clark said.

The robber, who was wearing dark clothing, a wig, a fake beard and sunglasses, fled on foot with what Clark described as a "significant" amount of OxyContin. A state police canine unsuccessfully tried to track the robber.

The robbery investigation led police to search Pierce's home at 21 Glenwood St. Tuesday morning. Jennifer Dowling, 30, of Augusta, was arrested during that search and charged with illegal possession of prescription medication.

Clark said police had been given the name of a person of interest while investigating other open pharmacy robberies, including a May 4 holdup at the Rite Aid at 2007 North Belfast Ave.

The suspect in that robbery and the May 8 CVS robbery was described as a white man wearing dark clothes, jeans and boots. The robber also was wearing a fake beard and a wig.

"Several leads came in that pointed us in the direction of a suspect," Clark said, saying it was Pierce.

Augusta police detectives Tori Tracy and Jason Cote saw Pierce's vehicle parked "in a suspicious manner" in the Kmart parking lot Monday evening after the robbery, Clark said. Police checked the vehicle and found Pierce, Hodgkins and Dowling sitting inside.

Cote noticed that Hodgkins was wearing a yellow shirt under his plaid shirt, Clark said. The yellow shirt, and Hodgkins' boots, were similar to those worn by the robber, Clark said.

Pierce and Dowling were allowed to leave, but Hodgkins was taken to the Police Department for questioning, Clark said. Hodgkins, who cooperated with detectives, was arrested later Monday night.

Police interviews during the night and evidence gathered at CVS led detectives to secure a warrant to search the Glenwood Street home, Clark said. The Augusta police Special Response Team entered the home in mid-morning.

Officers used a noise grenade when entering the house; the explosion could be heard throughout the area of the quiet street.

Augusta police detectives and Maine drug enforcement agents spent a couple of hours searching the Cape Cod-style house and two vehicles parked in front of it.

Police arrested Pierce and Dowling, both of whom were at the house when officers arrived.

"Pierce was cooperative during an interview conducted by detectives," Clark said. "Based on the statements of those arrested and evidence from the search warrant, we're confident these folks were involved."

Pierce was being held Tuesday at the Kennebec County jail in lieu of $10,000 cash bail. Hodgkins and Dowling were being held there in lieu of $5,000 cash bail.

Clark said police probably will file more charges.

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Additional Photos

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Contributed photo A still image from video surveillance shows a person who robbed the CVS pharmacy on Capitol Street in Augusta on Monday night.

Contributed photo

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