WATERVILLE — Police on Thursday were looking for a man who robbed the Rite Aid pharmacy at 210 Main St. at knifepoint Thursday afternoon, reportedly fleeing with a bottle of painkillers.

Police later in the day were working on a description of the robber and plan to release a picture Friday if he is not caught before then, according to police Deputy Chief Charles Rumsey.

Waterville and Winslow police, as well as state police with a dog, descended on the store at the corner of Main and Center streets after the 3:24 p.m. robbery.

They scoured the neighborhood and interviewed people inside and outside the pharmacy after the robber reportedly fled north toward upper Main Street.

The robber initially was described as white, about 5 feet, 5 inches tall, with blond hair, and wearing jeans, a knit cap with a pompom and a black T-shirt with a band logo.

Rumsey said at the scene that the description had not been confirmed. He also would not confirm that the robber fled with a bottle of painkillers, as was stated in initial reports.

He said police received a report at 3:24 p.m. that the store was robbed by a man brandishing a knife and that the man left with property belonging to the store.

“So early in the investigation, we don’t want to identify what was taken, simply because we’re still in the stages of gathering that information,” Rumsey said about 45 minutes after the robbery.

He said police are firming up the description of the robber by comparing it with evidence in the store. Early information about the man’s description were “not super accurate,” he said.

“We know that early in an investigation things are reported, and we work to confirm and verify,” he said.

He added that police are working to provide a description.

“If we don’t have a rapid conclusion, tomorrow morning we should be able to release a pretty good picture,” he said.

No one was injured in the robbery, according to Rumsey.

Rite Aid was closed immediately after the robbery, and police in the area were at the scene within a minute and started interviewing people, he said.

State police Trooper G.J. Neagle was in the area with his dog, Draco, and responded at the request of Waterville police, Rumsey said.

“They ran a track that started here and ended in the Kennebec Eye Care parking lot,” he said, referring to the use of the search dog.

Detectives are investigating the possibility that the robber may have left in a vehicle, he said. The eye care business is just north of Rite Aid on Main Street.

At least 16 officers, including Rumsey, Waterville police Chief Joseph Massey and city detectives, were at the scene, where they set up a perimeter around the store and searched the area.

“We have also requested assistance from the State Police Evidence Recovery Team, and at least one of the members will be here within 20 minutes and help us to recover evidence inside the store,” Rumsey said around 4:20 p.m.

David Tenney, 26, of Waterville, was standing in the parking lot after the robbery. He said he was in the store just before the robbery occurred.

He said his friend went in to drop off a prescription at the pharmacy, and then they came outside to wait for it to be filled.

“I was outside smoking a cigarette, and I see this guy walk out, and he started scurrying that way,” Tenney said, pointing north toward Kennebec Eye Care. “We go back to the doors, and they were locked. They said they were having technical difficulty. We started to drive out, and the cops said pull back in because it was just robbed.”

Tenney said police asked him what he saw, which was the man who scurried away. Tenney said he had a chiseled and square face.

“He was scurrying right along, face down. When I saw them lock the doors, I was like, ‘Something’s up.'”

The Rite Aid is at a busy corner, where dozens of vehicles were lined up at the traffic lights and people in the vehicles were poking their heads out of windows and asking what was going on. Firefighters across the street at Central Fire Station stood outside watching, and pedestrians stood looking from nearby sidewalks.

At 4 p.m., about 35 minutes after the robbery was reported, JoAnn Cushman, 50, of Waterville, emerged from Rite Aid with other customers who had been inside when the robbery took place and whom police had asked to remain inside for a while afterward.

Cushman said she went in to pick up a prescription her doctor was going to call in and was in an aisle near a cash register talking to a woman in a wheelchair when she saw the security partition at the pharmacy come down.

“Then cops started showing up, and we were getting ready to leave,” Cushman said. “They wouldn’t let anybody out.”

When told the pharmacy had been robbed, Cushman said, “Why do people do that? I mean, that’s kind of foolish. And how did they do it?”

She wandered north on Main Street as it started to rain, saying she would return to the pharmacy Friday to collect her medication.

In a later news release, Waterville police said it was unlikely more information would be released Thursday night.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

 

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