PITTSFIELD — A man who robbed the Rite Aid pharmacy near Interstate 95 and got away with prescription drugs Wednesday night remained at large on Thursday, police said.

Pittsfield Police Chief Steve Emery said the robbery happened about 7:40 p.m. when a man walked into the Somerset Avenue store and walked straight to the pharmacy counter. The man gave a male pharmacist a note demanding drugs, which were handed over.

The robber did not display a weapon, but the note included a threat, Emery said. No one was injured.

“I can’t say it word for word, but (the note said): I want pills and if you don’t give them to me, I will kill you,” Emery said.

Police did not say what type of drugs were taken or how many.

It marked at least the fourth robbery in recent months of area pharmacies, two of them Rite Aid stores.

Rite Aid spokesman Eric Harkreader said Thursday that customer and employee safety is a top priority in all the company’s stores.

Harkreader declined to comment on whether there have been any specific security upgrades in the aftermath of recent Rite Aid robberies in Maine. But he said, “In collaboration with law enforcement from multiple jurisdictions, Rite Aid is enhancing the already robust security and enforcement tactics in the area.”

The robber was described as 5-feet 6-inches to 5-feet 9-inches tall with a medium build, wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt, a baseball hat underneath the hood, black gloves and large dark-colored sunglasses, Emery said.

He said there was one other customer and at least five employees inside the Rite Aid. The robbery lasted three to four minutes.

After getting the drugs, the man left through the store’s front door and ran to the Carriage Estates mobile home park behind the Rite Aid, Emery said.

“We have a witness, someone in the park, who saw him run through bushes and into a car,” Emery said. “There were two other people in the car. He jumped into the back passenger seat.”

The getaway car, which was described as a dark-colored sedan with four doors, drove through the nearby Pittsfield Industrial Park and wasn’t seen after that, Emery said. The car could have traveled in many different directions, but it likely either headed toward the nearby on-ramps for I-95 or down Somerset Avenue toward the downtown, Emery said.

Store surveillance video did not reveal any additional details that are relevant, only showing that the man looked down during most of the robbery, Emery said.

Emery, who has been on the Pittsfield police force since 1982, said he cannot recall any previous robbery at the store.

Pittsfield officer Michael Cote is the lead investigator. He was assisted at the scene by Emery and Sgt. Timothy Roussin, as well as Somerset County deputies Ritchie Putnam and Joseph Jackson.

Several other pharmacies have been robbed of prescription drugs during the last three months.

Most recently, on Sept. 12, a man forced four employees and a customer to the floor and bound their hands during a holdup at E.W. Moore & Sons Pharmacy in downtown Bingham. The next day, police arrested James Stile, 55, of Sangerville, who allegedly stole prescription drugs and money.

It was also robbed in 2010. The two men in that case, where Oxycontin was taken at knifepoint, were apprehended.

On Aug. 1, a man robbed a Rite Aid pharmacy on Western Avenue in Manchester and got away with an undisclosed amount of oxycodone. No one has been arrested in connection with that case.

On Aug. 2, a man with a pistol robbed a downtown Rite Aid in Camden. Sean Higgins, 29, of Rockland, was arrested in Norwich, Conn., later that month in connection with the robbery.

Pittsfield police asked that anyone with information about the robbery to call 487-3101.

Scott Monroe — 861-9239

[email protected]


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