AUGUSTA — The city man charged over the weekend with robbing the pharmacy inside the Civic Center Drive Walmart told police he discarded two of three bottles of pills he was given because they were more than he needed to make a deposit on his sister’s apartment.
Jason L. Truman, 33, is charged with robbery in connection with the Nov. 26 pharmacy hold-up. Truman, who made his initial court appearance Monday, was being held at the Kennebec County jail on $10,000 bail. Bail conditions prohibit him from contacting his estranged wife, Heather Downs, his sister and from returning to Walmart.
Police believe Truman waited in line at the pharmacy in the crowded Walmart around 1 p.m., and when he got to the window, handed a pharmacist a note stating he had a gun and demanding oxycodone. Nobody was hurt during the robbery, which was the second of three pharmacy robberies to occur in Augusta in November.
Police continue to search for those responsible for robberies at the Capitol Street CVS on Nov. 17 and again last Wednesday. Augusta Police Deputy Chief Jared Mills said over the weekend police continue to follow up leads in those robberies, which Mills said might be connected. Police have determined Truman is not responsible for the CVS robberies.
There have been a total of nine pharmacy robberies in Augusta this year and 53 statewide, more than double last year’s record high of 24.
Augusta police arrested Truman Saturday just a few hours after Downs provided investigators with a detailed description of the robbery that included information police had withheld from the public.
Truman fled the store on foot before hopping into a blue minivan, Wastella said. Downs told police that Truman’s sister was driving that van. Truman, however, claims Downs was the driver.
“Truman stated later that day he gave Heather seven oxycodone pills and $100 as payment for driving him to and from the Walmart,” Wastella wrote.
Neither Downs or Truman’s sister have been charged in connection with the robbery.
A pharmacist gave Truman three bottles of oxycodone, but police found two of those bottles, along with a piece of bag they were in, on an embankment near the store. Wastella said it appears the robber may have fallen, causing the bag to rip, which allowed the bottles to fall out. Truman, however, offered a different theory.
“Truman stated he only wanted to steal a single bottle of oxycodone,” Wastella wrote. “When he realized there were three bottles in the bag he placed two on the ground and left them behind.”
Truman told police he sold most of the pills to an Augusta man for $700. He said he used most of the money to put a down payment on his sister’s Boothby Street apartment.
The robber was wearing a navy colored coat, with the collar high up on his neck, and a light blue hat. A waste removal company employee discovered some of those clothes, including the light blue hat with the letters FBI on it, in a trash container outside a Western Avenue restaurant.
“Heather (Downs) stated that Truman told her after leaving the scene he had gotten a ride to Western Avenue in Augusta, where he discarded the hat, jacket and black sneakers in a dumpster,” Wastella wrote. “This information about the clothes…was never made public and could only have been known by investigators and the suspect.”
Downs told police that Truman collects disability and does not have a job, but soon after the robbery he claimed to have $700 cash.
“She believed that he may have sold the stolen pills to obtain money,” Wastella said.
Craig Crosby — 621-5642