AUGUSTA — The Osco pharmacy at the Shaw’s supermarket on Western Avenue was robbed Wednesday for the second time in 48 hours — to the minute — and police think the suspect is the same man who robbed it Monday.
Wednesday’s incident was a carbon copy of the Monday incident, and the suspect is at large.
However, police have released a clear security photograph of the suspect from the Wednesday robbery, saying they’re already getting tips on the robber’s possible identity.
In a news release, Deputy Chief Jared Mills of the Augusta Police Department said that at 12:25 p.m. Wednesday, a white bearded man in his mid-20s wearing a green sweatshirt walked into Shaw’s, went to the Osco counter and handed an employee a threatening note demanding OxyContin pills. He got pills without displaying a weapon, then fled the store on foot without injuring anyone.
A Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office deputy attempted to track the suspect with a dog Wednesday, but it lost the scent. In an interview, Mills said the dog lost the trail near Laney Chiropractic Clinic on Capitol Street, where police recovered a jacket they think belongs to the suspect. Mills said he didn’t know whether the suspect left from the area in a car.
“All we know is that he left on foot and kind of took that direction,” he said.
Mills said the man, about 6 feet tall and weighing 140 to 165 pounds, is likely the same person who robbed the pharmacy at 12:25 p.m. Monday. The descriptions of the suspects and each incident match.
On Monday, the man gave a threatening note to an employee, got pills and ran away. Nobody was injured. Mills said the writing on the Wednesday note was “similar, if not identical” to the note the suspect handed the employee on Monday. A police dog tracked the suspect to a nearby parking lot on Monday, but the dog also lost the scent that day.
In an email, Steve Sylven, a Massachusetts-based Shaw’s spokesman, said pharmacies at other Shaw’s stores in New England have not been robbed recently. He said employees followed proper protocol during both robberies and “we want to reassure our customers and associates that their safety remains our top concern.”
Mills said the Augusta police will put an officer in Shaw’s during business hours over the next few days, and he said the store has heightened security measures. He said other police and some witnesses have given the department leads on who the suspect might be.
Police also released a photo of the suspect’s face on Wednesday afternoon. Those with information about the incident can call Augusta police at 626-2370. In the Monday robbery, the security camera photo was grainy and unclear.
“Hopefully getting that out, somebody knows him,” Mills said.