Retaliating after an armed robbery, a woman wound up and threw a fast, hard one at a gunman as he took off with money from a gas station in Gorham last week.

“When he left, I threw a quart of oil at him,” said Ashley Rogers, a 2004 graduate of Gorham High School.

The gunman disappeared into night and is still at large. But police are in pursuit.

Rogers, now of Westbrook, was on duty alone in the Mobil Station on Mosher Road about 7 p.m. on Wednesday during the armed robbery. “I would have shot him if I was here,” said station owner Rob Walker of Gorham.

Rogers said “a young man” ran up the Mosher Road (Route 237) and “jogged” into the station. She thought he wanted to perhaps use the restroom or buy a quart of oil.

With hands in his pockets, the man casually entered the station office. “Give me all the money in the cash register,'” she said the man ordered.

She tried to stall the holdup, questioning the man. “Are you serious,” she asked. “Then he flashed a gun.”

Rogers said the gun was black. It looked “automatic” like the ones “police carry,” she said. Rogers thought it could be a BB gun. “But I didn’t want to risk it,” she said.

She handed over cash but she was unsure just how much. “I gave him what was in my pocket,” Rogers said.

The gunman stuffed the money in his left pocket. As the gunman opened the station door to leave, she grabbed a quart of oil from a nearby shelf and let it fly at the gunman. The quart of oil missed its mark and bounced off the wall as the gunman ran away.

Rogers threw the quart of oil with such force that the impact dented its plastic container. “It was more in frustration,” she said, explaining her decision to throw the oil.

Her dad, Paul Rogers of Gorham, said it was just a reaction. “She shouldn’t have thrown the oil at him,” her dad said.

She said the man fled south on Mosher Road, returning in the direction from which he came. “It was simple and quick,” she said about the holdup.

Rogers calmly dialed 911 after the gunman left. Then reality of what happened set in. “At that point, I was hysterical,” she said.

Rogers said Gorham and Windham police officers arrived quickly. She said a police dog tracked the gunman as far as Mallison Street.

Gorham officers who responded included officers Todd Gagnon, Mike Coffin, Sgt. Dan Young, Det. Larry Maxfield-Fearon, Lt. Chris Sanborn and Gorham Police Chief Ron Shepard.

Police are looking for a thin, white male between 20 to 25 years old. Shepard said the man was unshaven.

Ashley Rogers said the gunman was about 5’6″ and wearing jeans, sneakers and a gray, hooded sweatshirt with the hood pulled tight. The gunman was not wearing a facemask.

The description resembles that of a gunman in each of two armed robberies in the area on Dec. 19. Colucci’s, near the rotary at routes 302 and 202 in Windham, was held up at 8 p.m. and Best Western Hotel in South Portland was held up at 6 p.m. the same night.

In the Windham holdup, the suspect left in a “small white car” and headed toward Gorham on Route 202, according to Lt. Dave DeGruchy of Windham Police. In the South Portland holdup, Det. Sgt. Ed Sawyer said the gunman left on foot.

Young said this week that six police departments were working together in investigation of the holdups. And Shepard said that the F.B.I. called Gorham police after the gas station holdup.

Shepard said that Gorham police canvassed the neighborhood near the gas station and have talked with people who saw the gunman on the run. ‘We’ve got leads,” Shepard said.

In armed holdups, Shepard said the bottom line is not to argue with them and he stressed the danger involved. ‘Don’t do something foolish,” Shepard said. “Cash can be replaced. Don’t do anything to push them over the edge, they’re already jittery.”

– Staff Writer Douglas Wright contributed to this story.

A woman hurled a quart of motor oil at a gunman in a holdup at this gas station in Little Falls last week.Grabbing a quart of oil from this shelf, a woman hurled it a gunman last week in a holdup at the Mobil gas station in Little Falls.


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