A Manchester couple has been charged in connection with a robbery Saturday at a Rite Aid pharmacy in their hometown.

Brooke Frost, 23, and Devon Gray, 25, were arrested Tuesday on charges of robbery, stealing drugs, theft, and possession of scheduled drugs, according to Capt. Dennis Picard, of the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office.

Frost and Gray were being held Tuesday afternoon at the Kennebec County jail in lieu of $20,000 cash bail. Both are expected to make an initial court appearance Wednesday.

“Following several interviews, the suspects gave full confessions,” Kennebec County Sheriff Randall Liberty said.

Kennebec Journal archives indicate Frost and Gray have two children together.

Police had been looking for a woman who entered the Rite Aid on Western Avenue in Manchester around 3:15 p.m. Saturday and went to the pharmacy and demanded painkillers.

Detective Sgt. Frank Hatch, of the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office, said at the time that the woman, who was dressed in baggy men’s clothing, “threatened violence” before fleeing on foot with an undisclosed amount of prescription medication.

Liberty said the woman, later identified as Frost, said, “Give me Percocet. I have a gun.”

Police, working with a dog, tracked the woman’s movement away from the store. The track failed to lead to the robber, but Hatch said it did turn up evidence, including clothing. He was unsure whether the woman ultimately got into a vehicle.

While investigators think Frost committed the robbery, Liberty said Gray planned the holdup and did an initial walk through to see if it was a good time to carry out the robbery.

Liberty said investigators from Kennebec and Waldo counties, as well as the Maine State Police, conducted a number of interviews and used images collected by Rite Aid security cameras to identify Frost and Gray.

Frost was arrested around 8 a.m. Tuesday at a relative’s home in Unity. Gray was arrested five hours later when he arrived at the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office for an interview.

Hatch, who investigated Saturday’s robbery with Kennebec County detectives Michael Bickford and John Bourque, said additional charges are possible.

“We’re still looking at whether anybody else might be involved,” he said.

It was the second time in a month that the store has been robbed. A man walked into the pharmacy on Aug. 3 and demanded prescription drugs. Thomas Bourque, 31, of Belgrade, was charged in connection with that robbery.

There were a record 56 pharmacy robberies in 2012, but the number of incidents dropped to a handful in 2013 and the first half of this year. There has been an increase in holdups recently, however.

In addition to the two robberies at the Manchester Rite Aid, since Aug. 18 there have been holdups at two Augusta Rite Aids, one at Community Pharmacy inside Goggins IGA in Randolph and another at the Spring Street Rite Aid in Gardiner. Jesse Mansir, 31, of Gardiner, has been charged in connection with the Gardiner robbery. Police have called Dominic J. Pomerleau, 21, of Augusta, a suspect in both the Augusta robberies, but as of Tuesday he had not been charged. Nobody has been identified or charged in connection with the Community Pharmacy robbery.

“All of the robberies were done by individuals who are addicted to opiates,” Liberty said. “The spike in heroin addiction is having a significant impact on our communities, our youth and on the safety of our families.”

Liberty said most property crimes, such as burglaries and robberies, are driven by addiction. He said numerous gangs from out of state have set up drug trafficking trades in central Maine.

Meanwhile, drug investigative units are “understaffed, underfunded and overwhelmed,” Liberty said.

“As a society, we must get serious about appropriating adequate funding for substance abuse treatment and drug enforcement or continue to suffer the long-term dangers of the drug trade,” he said.

Craig Crosby — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @CraigCrosby4

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