An armed robbery at Payless Shoe Source in Westbrook Tuesday night could be linked to a rash of criminal activity in the area early this week.

Police received a call at around 7 p.m. Tuesday from a woman barricaded in a bathroom at Payless on Main Street. According to police, the woman, a clerk sat the store, aid she had been led into the bathroom after an armed white male demanded cash from her register.

By the time police arrived at the store in the Westbrook Crossing Shopping Center, the suspect had fled.

The crime occurred within two days of a string of armed robberies in the Portland area. Portland police arrested Richard Campbell, 54, in connection with the robbery of a coffee shop in Monument Square Tuesday. According to Detective Sgt. Patrick Lally, Campbell is being considered as a suspect in the Westbrook robbery, as well.

“He’s definitely on our list,” Lally said Wednesday, but no charges have been made.

Lally said the shoe store clerk, whom he declined to identify, described the robber as a slim white male between the ages of 40 and 50 – the same description South Portland Police Sgt. Steven Webster said was given of a man who held up a woman at the Maine Mall Tuesday morning.

“Does he match the description of a lot of people in this country? Sure,” Webster said, but in an area like Portland, where there aren’t frequent rashes of crime, he said, “we have to look at the big picture.”

Originally, South Portland police arrested Christopher Gallant, 41, for robbing the woman at the Maine Mall. However, after determining Gallant had been checking out of a hotel at the time of the crime, Webster said, he was released from jail.

Now, police from South Portland, Westbrook and Portland are working together to determine who committed the crimes.

“Are all these robberies connected? They might be. That’s our job to figure it out,” Webster said.


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