A Chelsea man has been indicted on federal charges in connection with pharmacy robberies that occurred in February in Augusta and Gardiner.

Steven C. Chaput, 39, was indicted Wednesday by a grand jury in U.S. District Court in Bangor on one count of interference with commerce by robbery and one count of pharmacy robbery.

He is scheduled to be arraigned 3 p.m. Wednesday in Bangor before Magistrate Judge John Nivison. Court records did not indicate that Chaput was in custody.

Chaput is the second man to be accused in the robberies that occurred Feb. 7 at Rite Aid on North Belfast Avenue, Augusta, and Feb. 18 at Rite Aid, Spring Street, Gardiner.

Rudger S. Ellis, 22, of Gardiner was arrested and charged in state court two days after the Gardiner pharmacy robbery.

On Wednesday, Ellis was indicted on the same federal charges as Chaput. Ellis, who is being held at the Kennebec County jail, is scheduled for arraignment 11:30 a.m. Wednesday as well.

Ellis told the pharmacist that he wanted all the oxycodone 30 mg pills at the pharmacy, was given the pills and fled from the store, according to an affidavit by Gardiner Police Detective Michael Durham filed in Kennebec County Superior Court.

“The suspect did not threaten use of a weapon, nor did he display a weapon or use any force during the commission of the crime,” Durham wrote. “The employees at the pharmacy were scared and clearly felt threatened by the conduct of the suspect.”

A witness told police that a green Pontiac Sunfire was parked on Spring Street with a man behind the wheel and a man in the front passenger’s seat, who got out and walked toward Rite Aid. That same man later came running back to the car, which then drove away west on Spring Street, Durham wrote.

In another affidavit, Detective Michael Bickford of the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office writes that he contacted Durham Friday after a “cooperating defendant” at the jail pointed Chaput as a potential accomplice in the Gardiner robbery. Chaput has a green Pontiac Sunfire, Durham said. Durham, Cote and Dos Santos then interviewed Chaput in Chelsea.

“Steven admitted that he did drive the suspect, who he identified as Rudger Ellis, to the Rite Aid in Gardiner and previously to the Rite Aid in Augusta where Rudger committed robberies,” Durham wrote.

Chaput told the investigator Ellis gave him 20 10-mg oxycodone pills for the Augusta robbery and six 30-mg oxycodone pills from the Gardiner heist as payment for the taxi service.

The maximum penalty on each charge is 20 years in prison.

Chaput has previous convictions for drug-related offenses in Kennebec County Superior Court, according to published court records.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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