AUGUSTA — A Gardiner man who robbed the Big Apple convenience store with what turned out to be a BB gun is expected to serve 30 months in prison after pleading guilty in court Tuesday to a felony charge of robbery.

Under a plea agreement, Joshua L. Brown, 38, pleaded guilty to a Class B charge of robbery and was sentenced to seven years in prison, with all but 30 months of that sentence suspended, and three years probation. With good behavior in prison it’s possible he could serve less than 30 months, but if he violates the plea deal or probation he could serve a longer term.

Brown showed what a clerk said appeared to be a pistol, which police later determined was a BB gun, to a Big Apple store clerk on Nov. 10. 2021, and demanded she empty the cash drawer and give him the money. He fled on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash, all of it $10s, $5s and $1s, police said. An attempt to track the suspect failed after a Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office police dog lost his trail on Water Street.

Police circulated to the media and on social media an image, taken from the Big Apple’s security video, that showed a man in a hooded Maine sweatshirt, surgical mask and tan pants.

Brown was arrested after several people, according to Assistant District Attorney Daniel Feldman, recognized Brown in the photograph and contacted police. Among them was Brown’s mother, who not only recognized him and the clothes he was wearing, Feldman said, but who also gave some of those articles of clothing to police.

Also, following the robbery, witnesses told police they saw Brown with “a fresh stack of $10s, $5s and $1s,” Feldman said Tuesday at the Capital Judicial Center. Another witness told police Brown had been with them that night, left and then returned with money, which he claimed he had gotten from an ATM. But he only came back with $10, $5 and $1 bills, which the witness said seemed odd because ATMs don’t usually dispense such small bills.


And someone who was with Brown said he had been present in his house and left behind a very realistic-looking BB gun that looked like a pistol.

The robbery occurred around 10:30 p.m. Nov. 10 at the Big Apple, which is at 65 Brunswick Ave.

Prosecutors agreed to reduce the class of the crime as part of the plea agreement, from a Class A crime, which would have been punishable by up to 30 years in prison, to a Class B charge, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The crime, however, remains a felony, meaning Brown will never be allowed to possess a gun in Maine.

Feldman said authorities checked with the victim — the store clerk — and she was happy with the resolution of the case. The clerk was not injured in the incident.

Brown did not address the court Tuesday other than to answer the judge’s questions, usually with a “yes, sir.” He said he understood the charges against him and still wished to plead guilty, and that his attorney, William Baghdoyan, had reviewed the case and his decision to plead guilty with him, and that he was very satisfied with Baghdoyan’s representation of him.

Terms of Brown’s three-year probation include that he not have contact with the victim, not use or possess dangerous weapons, and not possess or use alcohol or illegal drugs, and that he undergo substance abuse evaluation. If he violates his probation, he could face the entire, seven-year sentence.

After Brown’s arrest later that month, James Toman, chief of the Gardiner Police Department, said in a news release that police wanted to “thank the citizens that came forward and provided critical information during the course of our investigation.”

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