BANGOR, Maine — Robberies were reported at three pharmacies in greater Bangor within a two-hour span Sunday afternoon, and one man was arrested.
Emergency calls to police were placed from Rite Aid pharmacies in Bangor and Brewer within minutes of each other, and the pharmacy at the Hannaford grocery store on Union Street in Bangor was targeted a little over an hour later.
Police have not said if anything was taken from any of the three pharmacies, but one person — Jeffrey Macy, 46, of Eastbrook — was arrested by Bangor officers in connection with that community’s Rite Aid incident, and police continued to search Sunday night for at least one other suspect.
The similarities between the descriptions of the Bangor Hannaford suspect and the Brewer suspect have led officers to consider that both crimes were committed by the same man, Brewer police Deputy Chief Jason Moffitt said Sunday night.
“We’re actively looking at that possibility,” the Brewer officer said.
Brewer responded to a robbery call from the Rite Aid on Wilson Street at about 3:45 p.m.
“The best description we have is a white male, 5 foot, 6 inches tall with an average build in his 30s, wearing a blue hooded jacket of some sort,” Moffitt said.
Video evidence was taken from the store, the deputy chief said.
Minutes later, at 3:50 p.m., the Rite Aid at the corner of Union and Fourteenth streets in Bangor was hit by a man, later identified as Macy, who was quickly taken into custody after taking a spin around Bangor Municipal Golf Course and hitting an officer’s vehicle, Sgt. Paul Edwards said.
“Officers responding were dispatched to the area of Webster Avenue near the Bangor Municipal Golf Course, where the suspect had fled in a 1995 gold Pontiac Bonneville,” the sergeant said in a statement.
Macy tried to hide by parking behind a maintenance building but was found by Sgt. Robert “Bob” Bishop and Officers Jim Dearing and Dan Sanborn.
Macy took off and “drove the vehicle onto the golf course with officers in pursuit,” Edwards said. “The suspect drove on and around the 17th and 18th fairways of the golf course and at one point struck Bishop’s Chevrolet Tahoe in the left front fender. The vehicle continued onto the 17th fairway again and back around onto the 18th tee box.
That is when Dearing used his vehicle to puncture the left front wheel of the Bonneville, rendering it immobile. Macy was arrested and charged with five felonies and five misdemeanor charges, Edwards said.
The damage to Bishop’s vehicle is estimated at $2,500, damage to Dearing’s police car is minimal, and it is unknown at this point what it will cost to fix the golf course, the sergeant said.
Macy was charged with Class A robbery, felony possession of scheduled drugs, criminal threatening, aggravated criminal mischief and trafficking in prison contraband, as well as misdemeanor refusing to submit to arrest, operating under the influence of alcohol, refusing to stop for a police officer, possession of scheduled drugs and an outstanding warrant, Edwards said. His bail was set at $10,000 cash, a Penobscot County Jail official said Sunday night.
While Bangor officers were taking Macy into custody, details about a known accomplice of his who drives a red Dodge Dakota pickup truck were released to law enforcement in Brewer, a Penobscot Regional Communication dispatcher confirmed.
“Right now they’re going on a guess,” the dispatcher said.
Maine State Police, Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office deputies and officers from Holden and Orrington searched for the Brewer suspect. Search dogs were used.
The pharmacy inside the Hannaford grocery store located at 1133 Union St. in Bangor was reportedly robbed at about 5:05 p.m. The Hannaford store was closed temporarily and the doors reopened, allowing customers to leave the store at about 5:20 p.m. Four Bangor police cars were parked outside.
The man who reportedly robbed the Hannaford pharmacy was recorded on video surveillance cameras and is described as a white man in his mid-30s, with salt-and-pepper-colored hair and no facial hair, a Bangor officer confirmed.
Police believed the man, who was wearing a blue sweatshirt and an orange hat, left in a purple Chevy Malibu or Chevy Cobalt. He gave the pharmacy clerk a note saying he had a gun and wanted oxycodone.
No one was injured in any of the reported robberies.
The three robberies or attempted robberies in Bangor and Brewer on Sunday mark the 41st, 42nd and 43rd to occur in the state this year.
Pharmacy robberies in Maine, which were virtually nonexistent several years ago, have increased dramatically over the last four years, jumping from just two reported in 2008 to eight in 2009, 21 in 2010 and 24 last year.
Mainers’ addiction to diverted prescription pills is the likely source of the trend, Roy McKinney, director of the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, has said.
Some pharmacy robbers are drug addicts looking to feed their habit and others are drug dealers who are “purely profit-driven,” McKinney said, adding that diverted prescriptions typically sell on the black market for $1 a milligram.
This is the third time the Bangor Rite Aid pharmacy, located at 556 Union St., has been robbed this year.
Two suspects were caught in May and arrested in the wooded area between Sunset Avenue and the southbound lane of I-95 after robbing the pharmacy, according to previously published accounts in the Bangor Daily News.
Nine days before, the same pharmacy was robbed by a “very grubby” older man who passed a note to the pharmacist through the drive-thru window on May 21, saying he had a bomb. The man, who has not yet been apprehended, was given an undisclosed amount of prescription drugs.
Law enforcement continued Sunday night to search for the man who robbed the Brewer pharmacy, and possibly the Bangor Hannaford pharmacy.
“He is still at large,” Moffitt said.