An armed robbery Friday night at a Gulf Mart in Westbrook could be linked to the recent rash of armed robberies in Greater Portland, police said.

Westbrook police said they are working to determine if the man dressed in dark clothing and wearing a scarf across his face during Friday’s robbery is the same one who has robbed nine other markets and restaurants at gunpoint since March 20.

“The robbery is similar in nature to recent area robberies,” Westbrook police said in a statement Saturday.

Police were called to the Gulf Mart at 159 Bridgton St. at 7:48 p.m. after they received a report of a lone male entering the store, showing a gun in a threatening manner and demanding money. Police did not release any other descriptive details of the robber, including his height.

The man left the market with cash. Police did not say how much.

Portland police, using a search dog, tracked the robber to an adjacent street, where they said he probably had a waiting car. A shift manager at Corsetti’s restaurant next to the gas station told News Center Maine (WCSH/WLBZ) that she had given police surveillance video from her store.

A store manager at the Gulf Mart declined to comment Saturday. A phone message to the market’s owner was not returned.

The robberies have rattled residents and convenience store and restaurant personnel.

The FBI and Maine State Police have been called in to help investigate the crimes by a man described as between 5-foot-5 and 5-foot-9, with a thin build, blue eyes and light colored hair. He has been captured on surveillance cameras. Witnesses described the robber’s handgun as silver and black. He dresses in dark, oversized clothing, including hooded sweatshirts.

Police have not said they are certain the robberies are the work of the same man, but they have said they believe the robberies are connected.

They have warned people not to confront the robber.

No one has been hurt in any of the robberies, which have been spread over six communities. Police said armed robberies are usually drug-related.

The string of armed robberies, most of which have taken place around 8 p.m., include the Riverton Gas Station, 1585 Forest Ave., in Portland, March 20; the Lil’ Mart, 251 Route 1, Falmouth, March 21; Good Things Variety, 113 Saco St.; Westbrook, March 22; Irving Express Mart, 174 Main St., Cumberland, March 22; Daily Grind, 840 Main St., Westbrook, March 24; China Taste, 1223 Washington Ave., Portland, March 25; Subway, 390 Bridgton Road, Westbrook, March 26; Aroma Joe’s, 443 Western Ave, South Portland, March 27; and the Old China Eatery, 5 Ocean Park Road, Old Orchard Beach, Mary 29. The Old Orchard Beach robbery occurred at 3:38 p.m.

Police have stepped up patrols near small businesses and advised store owners not to keep large amounts of cash on hand. They also asked small-business owners to make sure their surveillance systems are functioning.

Beth Quimby can be contacted at 791-6363 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: bquimby

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