ROCKLAND, Maine — A 30-year-old Massachusetts man, charged with stealing a purse containing nearly $3,000 from a woman at Walmart and then knocking her down when she chased him into the woods, will remain at the Knox County Jail.
Stephan T. Norton of Shrewsbury, Mass., made his initial appearance Friday afternoon in Rockland District Court on robbery and theft charges.
Judge Susan Sparaco agreed to the request by Assistant District Attorney Jeff Baroody to set bail at $10,000 cash. Defense attorney William Pagnano, who was the attorney for the day at the courthouse, said bail was moot since there were warrants out of Massachusetts for Norton.
The warrants are for larceny, according to District Attorney Geoffrey Rushlau.
Sparaco told Norton that the robbery charge carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.
According to an affidavit filed by Rockland police, Norton took the pocketbook from a woman’s shopping cart and then went into the bathroom to remove the contents which included $2,850 in cash. A clerk at the service desk noticed that Norton had something under his jacket when he went into the bathroom. The female customer then confronted Norton when he came out of the bathroom and he denied taking her purse, which was later found in a toilet.
Norton walked out of the store, followed by the woman. As they got to the edge of the parking lot he ran into the woods and she followed him, according to the affidavit. When she caught up with him, Norton shoved her to the ground and fled, the police report states.
Rockland Police Detective Russell Thompson and Knox County Sheriff’s Office Detective Don Murray arrived at Walmart and reviewed surveillance video and interviewed witnesses. Murray said he had dealings earlier in the day with Norton, although the affidavit does not specify what had occurred.
Camden Police Officer Brook Hartshorn reported that she was meeting with Norton’s wife and cousin, and that Norton called while she was there and said he was at the Ledge’s Motel in Rockport.
Thompson, Murray and Detective Sgt. Chris Young of the Rockland Police Department went to the motel and apprehended Norton, who allegedly had the money on him.