Customer recalls robbery at Rite Aid

Posted Oct. 01, 2010, at 11:14 p.m.

ROCKLAND, Maine — The man accused of using a machete in an attempt to rob a Rite Aid of drugs had his first appearance in Knox County Superior Court on Friday, when his bail was increased from $10,000 to $100,000.

Joshua Powell, 23, of Rockland has been charged with Class A robbery, which is punishable by up to 30 years in jail and a $20,000 fine. He remained in Knox County Jail on Friday night.

More information about the Thursday incident was included in a Rockland Police Department report filed Friday in Knox County Superior Court.

According to the report, written by Detectives Russell Thompson and Christopher Young, it was 10:30 a.m. when Powell walked into Rite Aid on Main Street, “supporting something under his clothing with his right hand.” Powell went to the back of the store to the pharmacy and jumped over the pharmacy counter, machete in hand.

That is when a woman waiting at the drive-through pharmacy window called police, according to the report.

That woman also contacted the Bangor Daily News on Friday to share what she saw and told police. She asked not to be identified for fear of retribution.

She told the BDN that she had seen Powell walking slowly toward the store’s entrance. She watched from her car as he looked into the pharmacy window “for quite some time” and thought it was peculiar. Minutes later, when she was at the pharmacy drive-through window, she saw Powell leap over the counter while holding a big blade.

“It took me a second to wrap my brain around it, and I immediately called 911,” she said.

“I stayed right there,” she said, adding that it never occurred to her to drive off.

Then she heard a pharmacy worker scream.

According to the police report, video surveillance cameras inside the Rite Aid show that around this time Powell, holding the 2-foot-long blade with both hands, raised it to about shoulder height.

The report states that pharmacy staffers told police that Powell told them no one would be hurt as he demanded all the drugs from a Rite Aid safe.

The witness at the drive-through window said she saw Powell with a bottle of pills in his hand as he jumped back over the counter and started wandering down the aisles. By this time, police had arrived. Rockland’s department sent every available officer, a total of six.

According to the police report, detective Sgt. Young recognized Powell, whom he saw near the soda and beer coolers. The suspect was still holding a machete and apparently had taken some of the drugs, according to the report.

“Powell was ordered to drop the machete at gunpoint and did as ordered,” the report states. “Powell was immediately placed under arrest and handcuffed. Powell was found to have three prescription bottles of 10 mg Endocet in his pockets.”

Endocet is also known as Percocet, a narcotic pain reliever.

Then, Detective Thompson wrote, he heard Powell say, “I had to get their attention somehow.”

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