AUGUSTA — A suspect in Friday’s early morning robbery at Waterville’s Budget Host Inn is the same man accused of a strong-arm robbery that left an 82-year-old woman seriously injured last April at the Cony Street Hannaford supermarket in Augusta.
Tylor A. Reece, 22, of Skowhegan, was arrested early Friday on an outstanding warrant charging him with failure to appear in court for a January hearing in the Augusta case.
Waterville police identified Reece through surveillance video as one of two men involved in the robbery reported at 3:53 a.m. at the inn on Kennedy Memorial Drive, according to a court affidavit by Waterville Police Officer Kyle McDonald.
The second man allegedly involved, Patrick E. Leblanc Jr., also known as Nicholas Leblanc, 21, of Skowhegan, had an initial hearing Monday at the Capital Judicial Center via video from the Kennebec County jail.
Judge Tom Nale set bail at $50,000 cash with conditions prohibiting him from contact with Reece and no possession of dangerous weapons.
William Baghdoyan, representing Leblanc as lawyer of the day, reserved argument on bail until an attorney is appointed in Leblanc’s case.
Reece also had an initial court appearance via video on the failure to appear charge.
The prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Tyler LeClair, asked that Reece be held without bail, saying Reece is facing charges related to a Class A robbery, which carries a maximum prison term of 30 years.
Attorney Lisa Whittier, representing Reece as lawyer of the day, said she wanted to reserve argument for the defense until Kevin Sullivan, Reece’s attorney in the other case, can appear with him.
Waterville Deputy Police Chief William Bonney indicated Monday that Reece had been arrested at the jail Monday on the new robbery charge.
McDonald’s affidavit said the inn’s night manager reported the robbery, saying a man wearing a Chicago Bulls cap — who initially came into the lobby inquiring about room availability — stole $250 from the cash drawer while another man, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, held him at gunpoint. The two fled in a four-door sedan.
Reece was the suspect in the ballcap, McDonald said, and was arrested in a motor vehicle in a parking lot on Redington Street in Waterville on Friday.
“We knew about Reece’s warrant and we knew that he had been in town, so we had been on the lookout for him,” Bonney said.
After determining that Reece was involved with the robbery, Bonney said, police posted surveillance where they believed he was staying. Once he left the house, they stopped him and made the arrest.
Police arrested Leblanc for the robbery first, Bonney said, because they were concerned he was a public safety threat and “flight risk.”
Joshua Bilodeau, 25, of 10 Percival Court in Waterville, was also arrested during the stop for allegedly hindering Reece’s arrest, as he had provided Reece with transportation and a place to stay.
Bonney said Bilodeau is friends with the two suspects.
While Bilodeau was not involved in this robbery, he previously pleaded guilty to robbery in 2011, in which he threatened people with a crowbar and an Airsoft rifle over a $60 drug debt.
Bilodeau was not listed among those scheduled for an initial hearing Monday.
Reece was indicted previously on two counts of robbery — one alleging use of physical force and the other alleging intent or intent to inflict bodily injury — and one count each of aggravated assault and theft by unauthorized taking, all related to the incident at the grocery store parking lot April 18, 2016.
Court records show Reece was granted personal recognizance bail Nov. 3, 2016, to allow him to have a bed-to-bed transfer from the jail to an in-patient substance abuse program in Bangor. They also indicate he was accused of violating the program rules Dec. 9, 2016, by allegedly planning to go out of state to get drugs and bring them back to Maine for distribution.
He pleaded guilty in November to violation of conditions of release and served a 10-day jail sentence in Penobscot County before being released.
An arrest warrant was issued after Reece did not appear for a Jan. 17, 2017, hearing at the Capital Judicial Center on the motion to revoke pre-conviction bail.
In the supermarket parking lot robbery, Augusta police at the time said the woman, then 82, was hurt when Reece allegedly knocked her down and stole her purse at the Cony Street Hannaford. The victim told police she was walking to her vehicle when someone came from behind and tugged on her purse. She held onto it, but eventually the robber grabbed it and fled. The woman was hospitalized with a fractured pelvis among other injuries.
A co-defendant in that case, Star Black, 24, of Augusta, who drove the getaway car and cashed checks taken from the victim’s purse, pleaded guilty in November to charges of hindering apprehension or prosecution, theft by deception and theft by unauthorized taking or transfer. She is serving an initial two-year period of incarceration. The remaining three years of the five-year prison term were suspended, and she was placed on probation for three years.
Staff writer Madeline St. Amour contributed to this story.
Betty Adams — 621-5631