MANCHESTER — State police using dogs and planes scoured the area for a suspect in a drug robbery that locked down a nearby school Monday.

An unidentified man believed to be in his early 20s went to the Rite Aid pharmacy on Western Avenue around 11 a.m. Monday demanding oxycodone, said Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

The suspect was given an unknown quantity of oxycodone and the tray the pharmacist used to sort the pills. Nobody was injured.

The suspect fled toward the rear of the building in the direction of the Manchester Town Hall, McCausland said.

Police believe the man left the area in a vehicle, McCausland said, but they have no description of that vehicle.

Manchester Elementary School, adjacent to Rite Aid, was quickly put into lockdown after the robbery, Manchester Town Manager Pat Gilbert said. Approximately 30 children, plus paid staff, were at the school taking part in the summer recreation program.

Two police officers stationed outside the school checked parents who entered the school to retrieve their children. All of the children were gone shortly after noon, Gilbert said.

McCausland said the robber is described as 5 feet, 7 inches tall wearing a black sweatshirt, blue jeans and sneakers.

Witnesses thought they saw a gun, but no gun was shown, McCausland said. He was unsure if the suspect mentioned having a gun.

A team of troopers and Game Wardens spent much of the day searching the area with dogs and a state police plane, McCausland said.

Police released two photos of the suspect taken by Rite Aid security cameras. In one of those photos, the man is standing at the pharmacy counter, nearly all of his face obscured by his hooded sweatshirt. The second photo is a picture of the man’s back as he fled.

“He was pretty skilled at hiding his face,” McCausland said. “We suspect someone knows who he is.”

McCausland credited an observant witness for a quick response by police.

“A witness was in the parking lot and saw what was happening inside the store and called state police,” McCausland said. “We got the initial report while (the suspect) was in the store. The first units that arrived missed him by minutes.”

McCausland asked anyone with information related to the robbery to call Maine State Police in Augusta 624-7076 — or 911 on a cell phone.

Craig Crosby — 621-5642

[email protected]

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