Police arrest local man in Saturday bank robbery

Portland police have arrested a man they say was responsible for a weekend bank robbery.

Police Tuesday night arrested Jamie Vandegraaf, 22, of Portland on charges of robbery in connection with the holdup at TD Bank at 449 Forest Ave. on Saturday morning.

Police said that a man entered the bank at 11:20 a.m. and said he had a weapon, though he didn’t show one. He left with an undisclosed amount of money out the rear of the building, police said.

Police said they were able to track him down at the corner of Oxford and Portland streets on Tuesday night.

“We were worried he may commit more crimes,” said Lt. James Sweatt, head of detectives for the Portland police.

Vandegraaf did not have a weapon when arrested.

He is being held on $10,000 bail at Cumberland County Jail.

Now in rehab, man admits robbing pharmacy in Bath

A Dresden man who held up a pharmacy in Bath in June pleaded guilty on Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Portland to a charge of conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery.

Nicholas Alexander, 23, robbed the Walgreens pharmacy on State Road in Bath on June 14 by passing the pharmacist a note that said, “You have 20 seconds to give me all your Oxycodone 15mg tablets and 30s or I will blow your (expletive) brains out,” according to court records.

Alexander was given a bag containing 11 bottles of Oxycodone tablets and was later found at a motel in Wiscasset with 600 Oxycodone tablets. In an interview, Alexander admitted robbing the store, using some of the stolen tablets, and selling others, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Alexander, who is now free on bail in a rehabilitation treatment program, faces up to 20 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000. He is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge George Singal on Jan. 10.


Two-vehicle crash sends three people to hospital

Three people were taken to Mercy Hospital on Wednesday morning after a school van and a sports car collided, according to Windham police.

A Nissan 350Z was headed east on Windham Center Road at 9:30 a.m. when it crossed the centerline and collided with the left side of the RSU 14 Dodge Caravan transporting a primary school child, police said.

The car was driven by Stephen Vasapolli, 53 and the van was driven by Amanda Brokos, 32. Aidan Deprey, 8, was the lone passenger in the van.

All three people, Windham residents, were taken by ambulance to the hospital in Portland with non-life-threatening injuries, said Police Chief Richard Lewson.

The collision occurred in front of 257 Windham Center Road, closing the road for part of the morning though it later reopened.

A witness told police the Nissan drifted across the centerline, causing the left front of the car to hit the left front of the van. Lewson said the sun was low in the sky and may have been a factor in the crash, but the investigation is still under way.

There was no indication the driver of the Nissan was using a phone at the time of the crash or that alcohol was involved, he said.

The vehicles appeared to have been destroyed in the crash, Lewson said.


After jury deadlocks, man reaches deal in stabbing

A Lewiston man charged with stabbing another man during a drunken fight at a party has reached a deal with prosecutors a day after the jury at his trial deadlocked.

Raikuez Melchoirre was sentenced to time served and was freed from jail Tuesday after pleading guilty to a charge of aggravated assault in connection with the June 2011 stabbing that left Richard “Buddy” Edwards Jr. with wounds to his face, shoulders, knee, chest and abdomen.

The Sun Journal reported that the 35-year-old Melchoirre entered an Alford plea, meaning while maintaining his innocence he acknowledges a jury could have found him guilty based on the evidence.

Melchoirre had maintained that the stabbing was in self-defense. Edwards said while not happy with the deal, he wanted to move on.


Former president a witness for women’s wedding

Former President George H.W. Bush, a longtime summer resident of Kennebunkport, served as an official witness last weekend at the wedding of Bonnie Clement and Helen Thorgalson.

Bush’s spokesman, Jim McGrath, confirmed that the president and his wife, Barbara, attended women’s wedding.

McGrath said that during their years in Kennebunkport, the Bushes had become friends with both women, who operate a store in Kennebunk.

“Helen and Bonnie have operated a well known store for a number of years. It’s a small town and you get to know people,” McGrath said.

Thorgalson posted a photograph on her Facebook page showing the former president signing the couple’s marriage license, with a caption that read “Getting our marriage license witnessed.”

Maine voters legalized same-sex marriage in 2012.


Police identify man killed in crash Tuesday morning

Scarborough police identified the man killed in a car crash on Route 77 Tuesday morning as Robert A. Taylor, 72, of South Portland.

Police are still awaiting results from the state medical examiner but suspect Taylor may have had a medical condition because there was no sign of braking or swerving before the car he was driving collided with a tree between Ocean Avenue and Piper Road.

The impact, at about 7 a.m., caused a small fire in the engine compartment that a passing motorist put out with a fire extinguisher.


Local man arrested Monday will face charge in New York

New York authorities have issued a warrant for a South Portland man arrested earlier this week charging him with attempted murder.

Raphael Encarnacion, 24, who also lives in the Bronx, has waived extradition to New York and is being held at the Androscoggin County Jail in Auburn without bail until he is transferred to New York.

A spokesman for the New York City Police Department said details about the allegations against Encarnacion would not be released until he is formally charged there.

Encarnacion was himself the victim of a shooting in January 2012 in Vassalboro after a dispute at a party. He was flown by helicopter to Central Maine Medical Center and underwent surgery.

On Monday night, South Portland police surrounded an apartment building in the city’s Redbank neighborhood and arrested Encarnacion after a tip from New York police that he was living in the city.

Encarnacion was taken to Androscoggin County where a warrant had been issued charging him with driving without a license.


Nonprofit will donate vests to protect two police dogs

Two Department of Corrections police canines will be getting protective vests thanks to a nonprofit company that produces the gear.

Rex, a 2-year-old Belgian Malinoise stationed at the Maine Correctional Center in Windham, and  Gunner, also a Belgian Malinoise,who works at the Mountain View Youth Development Center and Charleston Correctional Facility, will be outfitted with vests to protect against bullets and stabbings.

The two vests are provided by Massachusetts-based Vested Interest in K9s with support from the Petco Foundation.

Fourteen other dogs in New England will receive the complimentary vests, which cost $950 each.


Dixmont man sentenced for robbing pharmacy twice

A Dixmont man who robbed the same Rite Aid Pharmacy in Newport twice last year was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Bangor to serve 41 months in prison.

Jonah Masse, 27, handed the pharmacist a note on both Aug. 16, 2012, and Sept. 16, 2012, claiming to have a gun and demanded oxycodone and hydromorphone tablets, according to court records.

Following the robberies, many witnesses recognized Masse’s picture taken by surveillance camera images and indentified him to authorities, court records state. Masse pleaded guilty to two counts of pharmacy robbery on March 12.

Judge John Woodcock Jr. also sentenced Masse to serve three years of supervised release after completion of his prison term.

Masse’s girlfriend, Sydney Duff, 21, a Canadian native, was also scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday for her role in the robberies.

She pleaded guilty to two counts of aiding and abetting pharmacy robbery on March 12.

— From staff and news services