A Skowhegan pharmacy reported being robbed Monday morning, and by the afternoon police said they they had identified a suspect.

The robbery was reported at 10:24 a.m. at the Rite Aid at 225 Madison Ave., according to emergency dispatch reports. The reports said Maine State Police were searching for a male suspect who handed over a note demanding medicine at the pharmacy.

The robber was described in a police radio bulletin as a man in his 20s, weighing about 160 pounds and thin, with a mustache, wearing a hooded sweatshirt. No weapon was displayed and no one was injured, according to the report.

State police and Skowhegan police officials were not immediately available for further comment.

Police said in a new release Monday afternoon that they had identified a suspect but would not release a name. Another person was interviewed and released, police said.

The Rite Aid reopened to the public around 1 p.m.


The same Skowhegan Rite Aid was robbed Oct. 29, 2014, by a man who handed over a note demanding drugs and threatening to use force.

Jason Mitchell Walsh, then 32, was later convicted of robbery and sentenced to 10 years in prison, with all but four years suspended, three years of probation, and ordered to pay $857 in restitution.

Monday’s incident was the first pharmacy robbery of 2017, according to Maine State Police spokesman Stephen McCausland. He said that overall the number of pharmacy robberies has dropped “substantially” over the past few years.

“There were only a handful or so last year and that’s a huge difference from prior years,” McCausland said.

Maine set a record for robberies in 2012 with 421. Pharmacies were targeted a record 56 times that year, but those numbers plunged in the years since as authorities said a supply of cheap heroin became a ready substitute for those addicted to prescription painkillers.

According to numbers provided by the Department of Public Safety, the numbers of pharmacy robberies have see-sawed over the last few years.


In 2010, there were 23 pharmacy robberies, and in 2014 there were 24. In 2012, those numbers ballooned up to 56 pharmacy robberies before plummeting to 13 in 2013. There were 20 pharmacy robberies in 2014, and just eight in 2015. The number of pharmacy robberies in 2016 was not available.

MDEA Director Roy McKinney said that compared to years ago, there have not been many pharmacy robberies recently. He’s said there’s no central reporting on pharmacy robberies, while years ago his department tracked them more closely.

McKinney said while he wasn’t sure if there had been any kind of study done as to what caused the ebb and flow of pharmacy robberies over the past few years, he said “a vast number of people apprehended were users, and it had to do with their ability to find the prescription drug in the black market.”

“Their addiction drove them to actually robbing a pharmacy for the opiates,” McKinney said.

He said likely the shifting numbers of robberies are related to addiction and the availability of narcotics, and that inability to find drugs on the illegal market can often drive someone with an addiction to robbery.

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