PARIS, Maine — Two men accused in a daylight mugging in Rumford appeared in 11th District Court on Wednesday afternoon.
Rashaud D. Lavoie, 21, of 524 Prospect Ave. and Jackson Velez, 19, of 235 Pine St. are charged with robbery and assault stemming from an attack on a 19 year-old man Tuesday evening.
According to a report by Rumford Patrolman Bradlee Gallant, at about 6:49 p.m. the Oxford County Regional Communications Center in Paris began receiving multiple reports of a mugging in progress at the Rent-A-Center on Lincoln Avenue. The suspects, described as black or Hispanic, were headed across the bridge into Mexico when Bradlee and Cpl. Donald Miller responded to the scene.
Bradlee said the two officers encountered a large group of people in the parking lot of Franklin Savings Bank in Mexico, including Lavoie and Velez, who matched the description of the suspects.
In an interview with the officers, Velez and Lavoie admitted tackling the man and taking his wallet, but throwing the wallet back when they were approached at the scene by a witness about 15-30 yards from the victim, Gallant said.
The man told Gallant he was chased by a large group of six or seven people and was tackled and held down by Lavoie and Velez, who went through his pockets and took his wallet, the officer said.
The man also told Gallant he thought Lavoie and Velez were after his money so he pushed his wallet into his boxer shorts. When Gallant returned the wallet the man confirmed nothing was missing from it.
One witness told officers he saw Lavoie and Velez tackle the man and hold him down while taking his wallet. Another said he also saw the attack and Velez had the wallet in his hand after tackling the man, but gave it to one of the witnesses before running off, Gallant said.
According to Gallant’s report, the man suffered scrapes on his hands and elbow. He did not give a written statement about the attack, according to the report.
On Wednesday, Rumford police Chief Stacy Carter said police believe Lavoie and Velez knew the man.
“The people did know each other, so I don’t think it’s a random event,” Carter said.
During Velez’s appearance in court Wednesday, attorney John Jenness said after reading the police report he believed it was inaccurate to characterize the incident as a “mugging.” Jenness said he also had some doubts as to whether the man would press charges against Velez and Lavoie.
Bail for Velez and Lavioe is set at $1,000 cash each or a Maine Pretrial Service contract. As a condition of their release, the men are prohibited from contact with the man or each other.
According to an official at Oxford County Jail, Lavoie and Velez were awaiting bail as of 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Both are due to appear in court Nov. 5.