Man accused of attempted robbery remains in jail

Posted June 04, 2010, at 6:18 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — The homeless man accused of taking significant steps toward but stopping short of robbing a Corinth business Tuesday will remain at the Penobscot County Jail for now.

Jerome G. Richards II, 25, made his first appearance Friday at the Penobscot Judicial Center on charges of attempted robbery, failure to give a correct name and failure to sign a summons charge.

District Court Judge Jessie Gunther set his bail at $5,000 cash or $50,000 surety.

Richards, who is unemployed, also has been charged in Somerset County with violating his probation.

Gunther ordered he be held without bail on that charge.

Richards was arrested early Tuesday evening by Penobscot County sheriff’s deputies after an off-duty Maine state trooper observed the homeless man walking across a credit union parking lot in Corinth wearing what looked like a mask over his face and black latex gloves. The trooper followed the car in which Richards was a passenger until deputies pulled the female driver over on Route 15.

Deputies found Richards was wearing a black hooded sweat shirt backward with two holes cut in the hood for his eyes, according to their reports, obtained from the Penobscot County District Attorney’s Office. Deputies also found two pellet guns, an extra clip for one of them and a knife inside the car.

The 22-year-old driver was not charged.

On Wednesday, a 21-year-old Bangor man told deputies that Richards recently had been staying at his George Street apartment. Richards allegedly told his friend he was tired of being homeless and was going to rob a bank or a store.

Even though Richards did not enter a bank, store or other business Tuesday and no Corinth business reported being robbed that day, “he took a ‘substantial step’ toward the commission of a crime because he had a masked hood on,” Penobscot County District Attorney R. Christopher Almy said Thursday. “Plus, the evidence showed that he told his roommate that he was planning to rob the bank or the store.”

Richards also was wanted on a drunken driving charge out of Piscataquis County. Information about when he will appear in Dover-Foxcroft on that charge was not available Friday. He is scheduled to appear on July 9 on the probation violation charge in Somerset County Superior Court and on July 13 in Bangor on the Penob-scot County charges.

The probation violation charge stems from Richards’ conviction last year in Somerset County Superior Court in Skowhegan. He was sentenced to four years, all of it suspended, and two years of probation on a charge of receiving stolen property, a Class B crime. Details about that incident were not available Friday.

If convicted in Penobscot County of the attempted robbery charge, Richards faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

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