AUGUSTA — A Winthrop man pushed an 86-year-woman as she was getting into her car in the Walmart parking lot March 30 and robbed her of her purse, then bought cocaine with the $250 cash he found inside it.

Hours later, around 5 p.m., the high gone, Jed Ian St. Hilaire stole another woman’s purse at the Hannaford supermarket on Cony Street.

Witnesses and victims couldn’t identify the purse-snatcher, but several got a description of the car and its registration. Police spotted his car — which was the same in both instances — driving on Gage Street that day. After a  chase through northwest Augusta and then on Interstate 95, St. Hilaire abandoned the car and ran into the woods before being captured.

St. Hilaire, 34, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Kennebec County Superior Court to charges of robbery, eluding an officer, passing a roadblock and theft by unauthorized taking.

He was sentenced to eight years in prison, with all but 30 months suspended and four years probation.

“Drug problems are the number one reason we have crime problems,” said Maeghan Maloney, district attorney in Kennebec and Somerset counties. “If it wasn’t for drug problems, our caseload would disappear.”

Maloney said she’s advocating for more drug rehabilitation programs in jail and other correctional  facilities.

“We have a wonderful one in Kennebec County jail, but we’re the only ones,” she said on Wednesday.
Conditions of probation ban St. Hilaire from being at the Marketplace at Augusta, where Walmart is, and from any Hannaford supermarket in Maine.

He was ordered to pay restitution of $320.

Shortly after his capture, St. Hilaire told police he needed “cash to purchase cocaine and advised that he had been shooting up cocaine for the past several days straight,” according to a court affidavit by Augusta Police Detective Jason Cote.

St. Hilaire also said he took only cash from the purses and then threw them off the Calumet Bridge.

The prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney David Spencer, said one purse was recovered.

Also sentenced Tuesday in Kennebec County Superior Court:

• Gerald H. Arsenault Jr., 38, of Augusta, criminal use of explosives June 28, 2012, in Vassalboro; three-year jail sentence, all suspended, $500 fine, one year probation with a condition of no use or possession of explosive/incendiary devices, including fireworks.

• Richard J. Courtney, 25, of Fairfield, two counts of operating after habitual offender revocation, Jan. 19 and March 20 and one count of unlawful possession of scheduled drug March 20, all in Waterville; nine-month jai sentence, $1,800 in fines.

• Jeffrey T. Tompkins, 36, of Sidney, criminal operating under the influence and operating beyond license condition or restriction Jan. 27 in Hallowell; one year jail sentence, all but 45 days suspended, one year probation, six-year license and registration suspension, $1,500 fine.

Betty Adams — 621-5631
[email protected]

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