AUGUSTA — Police are investigating a robbery and a robbery attempt Tuesday night, both targeting Rite Aid pharmacies in the city.

The robbery attempt occurred at the Rite Aid at 2007 North Belfast Ave. at 5:40 p.m. Police said a lone male entered the store and walked to the pharmacy where he presented a threatening note demanding prescription medication.

However, he fled on foot almost immediately and without taking anything, according to a news release from Deputy Chief Jared Mills, of the Augusta police.

The suspect was described as being 5-foot-8 to 5-foot-9 with tattoos on his neck.

About 15 minutes later, the Rite Aid pharmacy at 83 Hospital St. was robbed by a suspect of the same description. No weapon was displayed at either pharmacy, although the use of one was threatened.

The robber obtained prescription medication from the Hospital Street Rite Aid.

Police ask that anyone with information on either robbery contact Augusta police Detective Sgt. Jason Cote at 626-2370, ext. 3423.

The North Belfast Avenue Rite Aid was reopened for business by about 7:30 p.m. It was not immediately clear whether the Hospital Street pharmacy reopened Tuesday night.

The area has seen a spate of pharmacy robberies recently after a relatively long hiatus.

The Rite Aid pharmacy in Manchester was the first to be robbed in the Augusta area this year and the second time that pharmacy had been robbed since 2011. Thomas Bourque, 31, of Belgrade, who was sought in that Aug. 3 robbery, turned himself in Friday after going to his attorney’s office.

He remains behind bars in the Kennebec County jail.

An affidavit filed in Kennebec County Superior Court says Bourque demanded oxycodone, which is a prescription pain reliever, and methylphenidate and told the pharmacist not to put a GPS tracker in any bottle.

Methylphenidate, a central nervous system stimulant, is a medication used to control symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to the website of the National Institutes of Health. The site says the medication can be habit-forming.

Bourque made an initial appearance on the robbery charge on Tuesday via video from the jail.

Pharmacies in Randolph and Gardiner also were robbed recently.

No suspect has been caught in the Aug. 18 robbery of the Community Pharmacy inside Goggin’s IGA on Water Street in Randolph, but Gardiner police arrested Jesse Mansir, 31, of Randolph, nine hours after he allegedly robbed the Rite Aid on Spring Street on Aug. 21.

In October 2012, a 19-year-old Augusta man robbed the Rite Aid pharmacy on North Belfast Avenue, then barricaded himself in the store’s bathroom in order to use the drugs. Police broke into the bathroom and arrested him.

It was the third time that year that particular store had been targeted by robbers.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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