WATERVILLE — Bail was increased Wednesday for two men suspected of robbing the Rite Aid pharmacy on Main Street Tuesday.

Carl Hunter, 19, of Spring Place, and Lance Vashon, 34, of Highland Avenue, remained Wednesday in Kennebec County Jail in Augusta, a jail spokeswoman said Wednesday evening.

After his arrest Tuesday, Hunter’s bail was set at $5,000 cash. It was increased Wednesday to $50,000 cash, with conditions including that he not possess alcohol or drugs, according to Acting District Attorney Alan Kelley.

Kelley said Vashon’s bail was set Wednesday at $25,000 cash or $100,000 surety, with the same conditions as those for Hunter. Conditions also include that the men not be at Rite Aid, Kelley said. Vashon’s initial bail set Tuesday was $2,500.

The bail for both men was increased Wednesday afternoon in Waterville District Court, where Hunter and Vashon appeared via video from the jail.

Kelley said afterward that the next step is a status conference set for Oct. 30 in Kennebec County Superior Court.

Meanwhile, police Chief Joseph Massey said Wednesday that police believe there is a possible connection between the 8 a.m. robbery and a call someone made to police earlier in the morning Tuesday reporting there was a man with a high-powered rifle in another location — a call possibly meant to divert police from the robbery.

Massey said information that the man with the rifle was reported to be at the On the Run convenience store on Pleasant Street was incorrect.

Police now know that the caller said the man with the alleged rifle was much farther away than On the Run and Rite Aid, Massey said.

“We don’t know how that particular location (On the Run) was communicated to us, and we’re looking at that, too,” he said. “But initially, it was dispatched out that a guy with a rifle in the vicinity of On the Run was going to start shooting.”

Massey said some reports of the robbery also incorrectly indicated that he (Massey) said the clerks working Tuesday at Rite Aid had attended a training session he hosted to help teach employees about what to do before, during and after a robbery.

“I don’t know if those particular clerks attended the training,” he said. “But a security representative of all the area Rite Aids was there.”

Asked if the Rite Aid robbery may be related to other unsolved robberies, Massey said police are looking into that possibility.

The increasing number of pharmacy robberies prompted him to launch training, he said.

“It’s very concerning to us and I think the more that people are aware they can be a target, the better they’ll be able to employ some of those safety measures,” he said.

People are so addicted to opiates and hard narcotics that they are committing bold daylight robberies, in some cases not even wearing a disguise, Massey said.

“They’re just so hooked that their focus is simply to get those drugs and get the heck out of there so they can go and use them,” he said.

Rite Aid clerks on Tuesday called police before the 8 a.m. robbery because two men looked suspicious when they entered the store wearing hooded shirts, baseball caps and sunglasses, Massey said at the time.

The men did not display a weapon but handed a pharmacy clerk a threatening note demanding Oxycontin, and the clerk gave them the drugs.

Hunter and Vashon were arrested later on Pleasant Street and charged with class B robbery. Police found a backpack containing the drugs in a trash receptacle.

Tuesday’s pharmacy robbery was the 37th in Maine this year.

 

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