AUGUSTA — A 19-year-old Lewiston man has been arrested and charged with Tuesday’s robbery of the CVS Pharmacy on Stone Street, police said.

The man, Anthony Post, was found by police in Augusta and turned over to the FBI, according to a news release Thursday afternoon from the Augusta Police Department’s Deputy Chief Jared Mills.

Mills said in the release that Augusta police and FBI agents cooperated in the investigation, and that Post is expected to be charged in U.S. District Court in Bangor.

The FBI took custody of Post and brought him to Bangor where he was turned over to federal marshals, according to the release. Post will be prosecuted federally through the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Bangor — as will any future pharmacy robbery suspects, according to Mills.

Mills said an unprecedented epidemic of pharmacy robberies — the capital city had nine in 2012, the highest number of any municipality in the state — has led city police to join forces with federal authorities to try to combat it.

“We’ll let these criminals know if they’re going to come here and do pharmacy robberies, they’re going to be processed through the federal system,” Mills said Thursday. “The FBI will be involved from the beginning.”

In January 2011, U.S. Attorney Thomas Delahanty offered resources to local police departments dealing with pharmacy robberies as prescription painkillers have become the drug of choice for a number of addicts.

Also, the federal Safe DOSES Act, signed by President Barack Obama in October, increased the penalties for pharmacy thefts as well as theft of other pre-retail medical products.

Mills said cooperation from the public led to quick identification of Post as a suspect. Police had provided the news media with surveillance photos that clearly showed the face of a young man as he walked through the vestibule of the store.

“There was a viewer — I don’t know from what agency — who saw the pictures through the media, called us up and put us on to Mr. Post.”

Mills said Post, who was arrested just before noon Thursday in Augusta, has cooperated with authorities.

“He has given us information about his involvement,” Mills said.

No weapon was displayed and no threat of a weapon was made during the robbery, which occurred about 4 p.m. Tuesday at the 2 Stone St. pharmacy.

Store employees reported that a man walked to the prescription counter and demanded oxycodone or OxyContin.

Employees passed him an undisclosed amount of medication, and he fled the store on foot. Investigators later found several dropped pill bottles while searching the area.

Surveillance cameras caught a number of images of the suspect.

“Detectives are still following up,” Mills said. “There may be other people involved, but he’s obviously the person that went into the pharmacy.”

A grand jury indicted Post in December in Androscoggin County on charges of burglary, theft by unauthorized taking, violating condition of release, criminal mischief, based on incidents alleged to have occurred Nov. 19.

Mills said Post was out on bail on those charges when he committed the robbery.

The CVS at 2 Stone St., one of two CVS pharmacies in Augusta, was robbed twice last year, most recently on May 8. During 2012, 54 pharmacy robberies occurred in Maine, an increase of 30 from the year before.

Betty Adams — 621-5631
badams@centralmaine.com