WATERVILLE — A city man was arrested Thursday in connection with an armed robbery the previous night at the Cumberland Farms gas station and store on College Avenue after authorities linked him to a ski mask found nearby.

Justin Michael Sinclair, 29, of 11 Union St., was arrested around 6 p.m. Thursday. Police have gone to 11 Union St. several times this year in response to reports of incidents related to drug abuse, as well as an alleged hammer attack this past August.

Sinclair emerged as a suspect in the Wednesday night robbery because of an incident that occurred Sept. 30, according to police Chief Joseph Massey. Sgt. Daniel Goss had helped Sinclair when his vehicle stalled in traffic around 2 p.m. that day, later arresting him for operating a vehicle with a suspended license.

During a routine search of Sinclair’s car, Massey said, police found a pellet gun that closely resembled a real gun. Police also found a ski mask in Sinclair’s pocket, the chief said.

Massey said Sinclair didn’t elaborate on why he had those items.

Sinclair was taken to the Kennebec County jail in Augusta, where he was later released on bail. On Tuesday, Sinclair went to the police station to retrieve his ski mask and his pellet gun, Massey said. An officer returned the mask but said he’d have to speak with the arresting officer to get the pellet gun back.

On Wednesday, police received a call from Cumberland Farms at 10:30 p.m. and were told a man had entered the store and held up what looked like a handgun, demanding money from the cash register. The clerk said the robber quickly fled the store after demanding cash.

When police arrived at the store, the suspect already had fled the area. A clerk working at the time said the robber was wearing a full ski mask with openings only for the mouth and eyes and a jacket with its hood up.

Police canvassed the area around Cumberland Farms, which is at the corner of College Avenue and High Street. Massey said police found a person on High Street who said he saw a man run behind Ace Tire and Auto Service on Drummond Avenue, throw off some clothing, then continue running again.

Police searched the area and found a jacket and ski mask behind the business that resembled what the suspect wore, Massey said. Detective David Caron reviewed video surveillance from both Cumberland Farms and Ace Tire before developing Sinclair as a suspect late Thursday.

Sinclair was arrested on a charge of robbery, a class B felony, punishable by up to 10 years in jail and a fine of up to $20,000. A pellet gun was found in his waistband when he was arrested on Thursday, Massey said, though it does not resemble the weapon seen in the store surveillance video.

Sinclair on Friday was being held in lieu of $20,000 cash bail at the jail and is scheduled to appear Nov. 28 in Kennebec County Superior Court in Augusta.

Madeline St. Amour — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @madelinestamour


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