ORRINGTON, Maine — A 54-year-old woman who was held at knifepoint Monday night by two men who ransacked her Center Drive home stealing items said Tuesday that she just tried to remain calm during the frightening home invasion.
“Give them what they want and try to get them out of the house” was her goal, said the longtime resident, who is not being identified by the Bangor Daily News because she is a crime victim.
The home invasion happened a few minutes before an attempted robbery of a local convenience store.
“We believe the two people who held the woman at knifepoint are the same people who attempted to rob the store,” Penobscot County Sheriff Glenn Ross said of Bob’s Kozy Korner store, which is about a mile from the woman’s home.
“They’re still at large,” he said later.
The home robbery was reported about 7:20 p.m. Monday by the woman, who was home alone, Ross said. The suspects got away with a number of personal items from her home, he said.
The woman was not injured.
Ross released a description of the suspects’ vehicle at a Tuesday afternoon press conference and asked the public for help finding the vehicle and the men who perpetrated the brazen crimes.
“It could be a gold, tan or silver small SUV-type vehicle with a dark color on the bottom [half],” Ross said of the getaway vehicle.
Brothers at the store helped scare the two men away, said Ross.
Gordon Parent, who lives in Brewer and works at Brewer Public Works, said he was at the store with his two brothers tagging a nine-point deer he got bow hunting.
He said his youngest brother “was on the deck texting … he heard a creak, looked up, and they were pulling their masks down,” Parent said.
The youngest brother said, “‘What the [expletive] is this?’ He scared them,” Parent said of his sibling. “He opened the store door and said, ‘I think you’re getting robbed.’ That is when I ran out.”
“I don’t think the guys in the store believed him,” he added later, saying one employee continued to make pizza and his older brother kept shopping.
The Brewer Public Works employee said he didn’t get a good look at the front of the men because they had their backs to him running toward their getaway vehicle, but he could tell one male was more than 6 feet tall and wearing dark clothing. The second male was shorter and had on a light-colored hoodie.
His brother told him the smaller person “looked just like Spiderman” with his mask on.
Ross said the shorter suspect is described as around 5 feet 10 inches tall.
Parent said he ran after the men in an attempt to get close enough to get a license plate number for police when the already running vehicle’s high beams came on, blinding him. The vehicle was parked across the street from the store, he said.
“They tried to hit me twice. I dove into the ditch,” Parent said. His younger brother “saw them pull back and me go into the ditch, and he thought I got run over.”
When the middle brother jumped into the ditch, the vehicle laid rubber leaving the area and almost hit another vehicle pulling into the store.
“The adrenaline just kicked in,” Parent said to end the interview. “I think if I had my Nike shoes on I would have caught them, [but] I don’t know what I would have done once I got them.”
Bob Bastey, who has owned the local store at the junction of Snows Corner, Johnson Mill, Fields Pond and Brewer Lake roads for the last nine years, said he was surprised to hear someone attempted to rob the store.
“You don’t expect it out here,” he said, standing in front of the business. “We’re lucky. The people up the road were not so lucky.”
Bastey said he was impressed with the number of law enforcement officials who arrived to investigate.
The county Sheriff’s Department is working hand in hand with Maine State Police on the case, an armed store robbery in Glenburn on Sunday and a number of other burglaries in the area that may be related, Ross said.
In many of the burglary cases, “people were home,” the sheriff said.
“These are the most concerning — when a homeowner is present,” Ross said.
Nine Penobscot County sheriff’s deputies and Trooper Jarrod Stedman are working the armed robbery and associated crimes, he said.
“[Stedman] also has his whole network working his side,” Ross said of the state police investigator.
The woman who was robbed said she is still shaken by the incident but has been given extra support by deputies who are patrolling the area.
Two Penobscot County law enforcement officers, Deputies Ryan Fitch and Bobbie Pelletier, were on Brewer Lake Road just before noon Tuesday.
“We’re just double checking the area,” Fitch said from his patrol car.
The two deputies stopped near 888 Brewer Lake Road and collected something small they found on the side of the road. Then they searched the ditch and along the road looking for additional evidence.
The woman, who said a deputy had just left the home she shares with her husband, added that she was surprised by the crime happening in her hometown.
“Unfortunately, that is the times we live in,” she said.