June 25, 2018
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Police investigating pharmacy robbery reportedly find 152 marijuana plants

By Diana Bowley, BDN Staff

SANGERVILLE, Maine — A man wanted in the armed robbery of a Bingham pharmacy Monday night was arrested at his Sangerville home Tuesday morning by sheriff’s deputies and state police.

James Stile, 55, who was taken into custody without incident at his home on Route 23, was charged with Class A robbery and brought to the Somerset County Jail in Madison, where his bail was set at $250,000 cash or $500,000 single surety.

While searching his home as part of the robbery investigation, police said they found 152 marijuana plants and paraphernalia.

“Due to a good close working relationship with all agencies involved, this robbery case was brought to a quick and successful conclusion,” Detective Lt. Carl E. Gottardi II of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Department said Tuesday.

Stile allegedly entered the E.W. Moore Pharmacy on Main Street in Bingham at about 5:20 p.m. Monday wearing a mask, ball cap and sunglasses and armed with a sawed-off shotgun. Once inside, he demanded prescription drugs and cash, according to Gottardi. Stile ordered the four employees and a patron who were inside the pharmacy to get on the floor and then he bound their hands, Gottardi said. No one was hurt, Gottardi added.

The robber left the pharmacy with an undetermined amount of cash and prescription medicine in a bluish-green minivan traveling northbound on U.S. Route 201, according to Gottardi.

A Kingsbury resident, who had seen a van fitting the description of the vehicle involved in the robbery traveling on Route 16, alerted police, according to Lt. Robert Young of the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Department.

After an investigation through the night by Cpl. Ritchie Putnam, Deputy Wilfred Dodge and Gottardi, all of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Department, aided by Piscataquis County sheriff’s deputies, a search warrant was executed at 6 a.m. at Stile’s Sangerville home.

The Maine State Police Tactical Team assisted in Tuesday’s search because of the violent nature of the robbery, Young said. An agent from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and officers from the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency assisted with the investigation and search.

While the first search warrant was being executed, police discovered a large amount of marijuana growing inside Stile’s home, Gottardi said. A second search warrant was obtained to allow the search for illicit drugs.

In addition to the marijuana plants and drug paraphernalia, cultivation equipment and an all-terrain vehicle reportedly were seized. A bluish-green 1996 Ford Windstar owned by Stile was impounded.

Further charges may be lodged against Stile in Somerset County and an additional charge of marijuana cultivation is pending in Piscataquis County, according to police.

Stile, who is disabled, was found guilty in November 2008 of two counts of criminal trespass for exercising his German shepherds at the Sangerville Recreation Field, which is near his home. In 2009, he filed a discrimination complaint with the Maine Human Rights Commission against a former town manager and several law enforcement officers, but the complaint was dismissed.

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