AUGUSTA — Ryan McLaughlin used a taxi for a getaway vehicle on his second pharmacy robbery in 48 hours, according to investigators.

McLaughlin, 26, of Dresden, made an initial appearance Friday in Augusta District Court via video from the jail. He is charged with twice robbing the Osco Pharmacy in Shaw’s Supermarket, as well as separate charges of burglary, theft by unauthorized taking or transfer, forgery and failure to appear in court.

At the hearing, Assistant District Attorney David Spencer asked that $30,000 bail remain. He said McLaughlin had a prior criminal record. “In these two incidents, we believe the defendant is likely to be facing significant incarceration.”

Judge Beth Dobson set $30,000 cash bail on the robbery charges and separate bail of $1,000 cash and a Maine Pretrial contract on the misdemeanors.

Defense attorney Lisa Whittier, who represented McLaughlin at his initial hearing, told the judge that McLaughlin was pleading not guilty to the misdemeanor charges.

The judge said she was not taking a plea Friday on the superior court robbery charges and granted Whittier’s request to allow bail on all charges to be reviewed once an attorney is appointed to represent McLaughlin.

McLaughlin, a tall, thin man with close-cropped dark hair, and wearing a green jail uniform, did not address the judge directly.

Spencer argued for $30,000 cash bail on all of charges.

“I would note the defendant is a transient with no connections or job to the immediate area, and three prior failures to appear,” Spencer said. He said there were two active warrants for McLaughlin at the time of the robberies, “and I understood he had already left for Portland.”

An affidavit by Augusta Police Detective Jason Cote filed Friday in Augusta District Court outlines some of the evidence against McLaughlin. In it, Cote says McLaughlin admitted to the Nov. 11 and 13 pharmacy robberies when Cote questioned him on Nov. 14 at the FBI Office in Portland.

McLaughlin was arrested in Portland after police and FBI agents learned McLaughlin and his pregnant girlfriend had been driven there by a relative and were staying at a hotel there.

“He admitted he has a severe opiate addition,” Cote wrote, “He actually stated he was using seven to eight pills every two hours.”

Cote said McLaughlin said out of “mere desperation” he decided to rob the pharmacy at Shaw’s, walking there from a friend’s house nearby and then running from the supermarket on foot.

Police investigating that Nov. 11 robbery had store videos showing the bearded suspect wearing an olive-colored Carhartt jacket over a dark, hooded sweatshirt, work boots and with gloves tucked into his back pockets.

It says he showed a note written with pink or purple ink on an envelope — never letting it go — at the pharmacy drop-off window, demanding and receiving a bottle of oxycodone. According to Cote’s affidavit, the pharmacy technician “recalled that the note indicated the subject did not care if he died.”

About 48 hours later, the same pharmacy was robbed by what appeared to be the same person wearing the same dark jacket. Police later recovered a discarded jacket in the parking lot of a nearby chiropractic office. The robbery victims were the same in both cases, Cote’s affidavit says, and they said the robber appeared “more agitated.” The robber fled this time with two bottles of 30 milligrams of oxycodone, and a tracking dog led investigators toward Capitol Street.

Cote’s affidavit says McLaughlin later told police he was desperate for more drugs and called a taxi to take him and his girlfriend from the Senator Inn, where they stayed for two nights, to Circle K on Capitol Street, which is behind Shaw’s. He walked to the supermarket pharmacy, used a different note, and then ran from the store with the drugs. Cote said McLaughlin said he discard his jacket prior to returning to the waiting cab, which drove them to his girlfriend’s parents’ home in Gardiner. There he shaved his beard, according to Cote’s affidavit.

From there, a relative and friend drove McLaughlin and his girlfriend to the Portland hotel.

During the investigation, police received several calls identifying the robbery suspect as McLaughlin, and several people named McLaughlin as the suspect when police showed them a Kennebec Journal newspaper with a photo of the robbery suspect that was taken from the store’s surveillance video.

Cote’s affidavit describes McLaughlin as a transient who had been living in the Augusta/Gardiner area and in his vehicle because no one — including his girlfriend’s parents, who believed he stole from them — would allow him to stay with them.

Augusta Police had been looking for McLaughlin as a suspect in a burglary and theft at G&E Roofing in Augusta. He was a former employee. The recovered jacket had a G&E Roofing emblem, the affidavit says, and McLaughlin had been given one while working for the firm in November 2012.

The outstanding warrants charge McLaughlin with receiving stolen property and forgery on Nov. 19, 2012, in Pittston and theft and forgery in December 2012.

Betty Adams — 621-5631[email protected]Twitter: @betadams

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.