AUGUSTA — DNA found during the investigation of a 2007 Halloween night robbery of an Oakland pharmacy has led to the arrest of a suspect 11 years later, authorities said.

Michael Edward Algiere, 32, of Oakland, was charged Monday by a complaint in federal court with interference with commerce by robbery in connection with the incident at The Oakland Pharmacy. A conviction on the charge carries up to 20 years in prison.

Algiere is being represented on the federal charges by attorney Ronald Bourget, who said Thursday that the defense is challenging the government’s extension of the statute of limitations in this case. Normally a federal pharmacy robbery charge has a five-year statute of limitations.

“What they are attempting to do is extend the statute of limitations when DNA evidence is involved,” he said. “What we’re saying is, ‘Don’t jump so fast; let’s have a look at this.'”

A 2004 law regarding cases involving DNA evidence “suspends any applicable statute of limitations for the time required to identify an individual when DNA evidence implicates his involvement in a felony offense,” according to a Congressional Research Service publication.

“The statute of limitation and DNA application and implication is central right of the beginning of this case,” Bourget said. “The DNA extension statute has been around a little while, but this is something that apparently hasn’t been used a lot in this jurisdiction.”

In the Oct. 31, 2007, pharmacy robbery, the suspect, who was wearing a ski mask, held up the pharmacist at knife point after dark and only about 10 minutes before the pharmacy was to close. The robber then fled on foot toward Route 11 past groups of trick-or-treaters, many of whom were wearing masks.

Police described the suspect as a 6-foot-1 white man with a thin build and a mustache. Algiere’s profile on the Department of Corrections website says he’s 6 feet tall.

A year later, the suspect had yet to be identified, and a $1,000 reward was offered for information leading to the arrest of the robber by Crime Stoppers and Rx Patrol.

An affidavit by FBI Special Agent Kevin Kelley, which was filed Monday with the complaint in federal court, says the robber, wearing a ski mask, a blue hooded sweatshirt, a black jacket and jeans threated the pharmacist and said, “I want your oxycodone and I’m not kidding with you.”

He was given several bottles of prescription.

As investigators followed the robber’s path, they found a black ski mask, a hooded sweatshirt, a knife and camouflage gloves, items that video surveillance showed the suspect was wearing.

Male DNA was recovered from those items but did not match any profiles in the Combines DNA Index Systems or CODIS at the time, Kelley wrote.

However, Kelley’s affidavit adds, “Because participating forensic laboratories regularly add DNA profiles to CODIS, the (Maine State Police Crime Lab) routinely compares unknown profiles from unknown cases against the known profiles in CODIS.

On Feb. 16, 2017, Oakland Police Capt. Rick Stubbert was contacted by a forensic chemist to say that the DNA profiles from the recovered ski mask and knife matched that of Algiere, and that an oral swab from Algiere was needed to confirm it.

That was obtained by federal warrant in May 2017.

Later testing on the blue hooded sweatshirt and a glove proved a match to Algiere as well, according to Kelley.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney F. Todd Lowell. There is no date yet for Algiere to be in federal court in Bangor.

Algiere is being held in the Kennebec County jail in Augusta, and on Thursday he was at the Capital Judicial Center on a state charge of violating probation. A judge ordered him to serve nine months and a day of the suspended portion of a 2016 theft sentence.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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