BANGOR, Maine — The victim was looking for marijuana on Friday night and asked to purchase some from the wrong people, who robbed him of his money and apparently talked about throwing him off the Kenduskeag Stream pedestrian bridge, according to police.
The 21-year-old Hampden man decided to take his life into his own hands and jumped into the fast-flowing water to escape their clutches. He was swept away by the stream’s current but was able to crawl up the riverbank behind the Penobscot County Jail, Bangor police Sgt. Paul Edwards said Monday.
“When he came out of the river he actually bumped into a bike officer,” Edwards said. “[Officer Jason] Stuart just happened to be patrolling the area.”
Stuart called for backup at 12:11 a.m. Saturday, and after an investigation, police charged four local men with Class A robbery, a felony, for their parts in the assault.
Jeremy Sigouin, 21, of Hampden and Bangor residents Richard Wentworth, 20, Chad Theriault, 28, and Ryan Gaudet, 24, were taken to the county jail after their arrests. Wentworth also was arrested for probation violation.
The incident started when the victim “was approached by a strange female who asked to befriend him” near the Leadbetter’s store on Hammond Street, Edwards said.
After the Leadbetter’s clerk refused to cash a payroll check the victim had, his new female friend suggested she call someone who could give the two a ride to another store that would cash a check.
“A carload of males” picked them up, the victim told police.
The men gave the victim a ride to a Brewer store that cashed his paycheck, and then the discussion turned to purchasing marijuana, Edwards said.
The four suspects allegedly told the victim they had set up a meeting with a drug dealer at the footbridge on the Coe Park side of Kenduskeag Stream. Coe Park is located on Court Street. But “as they all neared the location of the footbridge, the victim was attacked by the men and a struggle ensued and an undisclosed amount of cash was taken from him,” the sergeant said.
The man also “overheard the men say they were going to throw him off the bridge, so in an attempt to flee on his own, he leapt from the bridge and into the water.”
The Hampden man suffered some minor facial injuries and complained of abdominal pain, both a result of the fight, but he refused medical attention, Edwards said.
All four of the men charged reportedly participated in assaulting and robbing the man, he said, adding that the crime was witnessed by others hanging out by the stream.
No charges were brought against the woman.
Those convicted of a Class A felony crime face a penalty of up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000. The four men had their first appearance in 3rd District Court in Bangor on Monday.
Bail for Gaudet was set at $20,000 cash or $100,000 single surety because he has a 2006 conviction for criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon and an earlier conviction for trafficking in dangerous knives, a court official said.
Wentworth and Sigouin each have bails of $10,000 cash or $50,000 surety, and Theriault’s bail was set at $2,000.
The bail conditions for all four men also prohibit them from having contact with the victim, two witnesses or one another outside of jail, and none is allowed to possess any sort of weapon, the court official said.
All four suspects remained in jail Monday evening.