Manhunt on after attempt at robbery in Ellsworth

Posted Dec. 30, 2010, at 11:55 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 05, 2011, at 7:07 p.m.

ELLSWORTH, Maine — A shop owner had a scare Thursday evening when a male wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and sunglasses tried to rob him as he got into his vehicle after work, according to local police.

Sgt. Glenn Moshier of the Ellsworth Police Department said Thursday night that area police agencies were on the lookout Thursday for a silver vehicle that had been involved in the attempted armed robbery.

According to Moshier, the owner of Needful Things, a consignment shop on High Street, had just closed the shop around 5:30 p.m. and climbed into his pickup truck to drive away when the incident occurred.

As he got in his truck, a silver vehicle reported to be either a Saab or an Audi pulled up nearby and a young man wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and sunglasses got out, Moshier said. The man walked up to the pickup truck, knocked on the window, then got into the truck when the store owner leaned over and pulled the handle to open the door.

The man immediately brandished a handgun and pointed it at the store owner, who scrambled out of the truck and ran away, the police officer said. The man quickly got out of the truck and got back into the silver vehicle, which sped off south on High Street.

Moshier said nothing was taken and that little physical evidence was left behind by the would-be robber. He said police ran the license plate on the vehicle and found out it had been reported stolen from an auto dealer in Westbrook.

The plate is a loaner plate that reads “92K,” Moshier said.

The male is described as approximately 5 feet 10 inches tall and very thin, Moshier said.

A vehicle matching a similar description and with the same license plate had been reported to police earlier Thursday afternoon in a speeding complaint in Harrington, Mosher said, but police were unable to locate the vehicle and did not know where it was until the robbery attempt was reported.

Maine State Police and police departments in eastern Hancock County, on Mount Desert Island, and in Washington County have been notified of the incident and are looking for a vehicle that matches the description, according to Moshier. He said that though nothing was taken and no one was hurt, the incident easily could have escalated into something far more serious. Police want to make sure whoever is involved doesn’t try to rob someone else.

“That’s something we definitely want to address before it happens again,” Moshier said.

The incident is the third armed robbery or attempted robbery that has been reported in Hancock County in recent weeks.

One of the other incidents, at a home in Eastbrook on Dec. 13, resulted in Nicholas Richards, 23, of Machias being shot and killed by the homeowner after Richards allegedly started attacking him during a robbery attempt, according to Maine State Police. Richards and his girlfriend, Ashley Crowley, 23, of Beals, are suspected of committing both the attempted robbery in Eastbrook and a Dec. 11 robbery of an 80-year-old woman at her home in Brooklin, according to documents filed in Hancock County Superior Court.

Moshier said the crimes, more serious than others that police departments in Hancock County have been dealing with lately, may reflect an extreme degree of stress that many people feel when they are short on money around the end of the year.

“It’s a sign of the times, unfortunately, between the economy and the holidays,” Moshier said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Ellsworth PD at 667-2168.

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