Police are comparing notes from three area robberies over a five-day span, one at a credit union and two at pharmacies.

Detective Matt Curtis of the Waldo County Sheriff’s Office and Lt. Donald Pomelow of the Maine State Police said descriptions of two pharmacy robbery suspects appeared to have more in common with each other than either did with the description and routine of the credit union robber.

Friday afternoon, a man robbed Down East Credit Union in Unity, Monday morning a man robbed the Rite Aid pharmacy in Manchester and Tuesday night a man robbed the Rite Aid pharmacy in Camden.

Camden Police Chief Randy Gagne said Tuesday afternoon that he had not reviewed tapes of the other robberies and that it would be premature for him to comment on any possible connection.

Whether or not the crimes are related, police said drugs may be the common denominator.

Drugs are an ongoing statewide problem and often result in other crimes, said Pomelow, Curtis and Gagne.

“Three (incidents) in this area is a little unusual,” said Gagne. “But unfortunately with drug abuse, this is what things are coming to.”

Tuesday’s robbery of the Elm Street pharmacy in Camden was the third high-profile robbery in five days.

Gagne said about 6:34 p.m. Tuesday a male, about 5 -feet, 8-inches tall, weighing around 170 pounds and wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt, black beanie hat with red trim and gray wind pants with a dark stripe, handed a note to an employee at the pharmacy counter.

Gagne declined to say what the note said or what drug or how much of it was stolen.

Gagne said the note will likely be sent to the crime lab in Augusta for additional testing.

The robber did not appear to have a weapon and did not make any threats, said Gagne.

Gagne said a police officer on patrol was in the immediate area about a minute after the call was dispatched.

The area was locked down quickly, but “It doesn’t take much time to disappear in a downtown,” Gagne said.

A Maine State Police K-9 team tracked the robber’s path, and Gagne said evidence was recovered close to where the track scent ended.

Gagne said police are reviewing video surveillance taken inside Rite Aid as well as from outside cameras.

During Tuesday’s robbery in Manchester, a male described as being in his early 20s standing 5-feet, 7-inches tall and wearing a black sweatshirt, blue jeans and sneakers demanded oxycodone at the Western Avenue pharmacy around 11 a.m.

Steve McCausland, spokesperson for the Maine Department of Public Safety, said the man took an unknown quantity of oxycodone as well as the tray the pharmacist used to sort the pills.

Oxycodone, an opiate analgesic prescribed to relieve severe pain, can also cause euphoria.

“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.”

Nobody was injured, said McCausland.

Witnesses thought they saw the butt of a gun in the robber’s pocket but McCausland said the robber did not wield a weapon.

The robber fled toward the rear of the building in the direction of Manchester Town Hall; McCausland said police believe he left in a vehicle.

A team of troopers and game wardens searched the area with dogs and a state police plane, McCausland said.

Monday, police released two photos of the suspect captured on Rite Aid security cameras.

In one, the man was standing at the pharmacy counter. Almost all of his face was hidden by his hooded sweatshirt. The second photo was taken from behind as the robber fled.

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

On Tuesday morning, police released a composite drawing of the robber.

Pomelow said that since the drawing was released, police have received a number of calls and tips.

He said police have been using the information gleaned by the calls to rule out people as suspects.

Curtis described the demeanor of the man who robbed the credit union in Unity on Friday as “squared away.”

Waldo County Sheriff Scott Story said Friday’s robbery occurred around 2:32 p.m. when a white male about 5-feet, 6-inches tall and 140 pounds entered the branch office on School Street and handed a black bag to a teller.

The man, who sported facial hair, sunglasses, blue jeans, white shoes and a white hooded sweatshirt with “Montana” on the front and down the left sleeve and “89” on the front, did not show a weapon.

The Waldo County Sheriff’s Office did not disclose how much money the robber took.

The man fled on foot, reportedly toward Unity Raceway on Route 139.

Curtis said Waldo County Sheriff’s Detective Jason Bosco was first to arrive on scene at 2:44 p.m.

Maine State Police Trooper Shawn Porter and his dog, Tex, searched the escape route and state police and Waldo County Sheriff’s deputies searched woods behind the credit union, which is adjacent to Unity Elementary School.

Curtis said he has been interviewing townspeople and staying in touch with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

All three police officers encouraged the public to be observant, particularly of things out of the ordinary, including people wearing hooded sweatshirts in hot weather.

Curtis said it’s better for police to be alerted to what might turn out to be a false alarm, than to be left “picking up the pieces.”

The officers encouraged witnesses of a crime to be aware and focused and to not put themselves in harm’s way.

“It’s only property and it’s only money,” said Curtis. “We’re not looking for anyone to be a superhero, we just ask that they be observant and be good witnesses.”

Beth Staples — 861-9252

[email protected]

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