ELLSWORTH, Maine — A man police suspect in at least two incidents of theft Saturday night in Ellsworth made his initial court appearance Monday in Hancock County Superior Court.
Shaun P. Parsons, 34, of Tremont was charged with shoplifting and robbery after allegedly stealing a carton of milk from Hannaford and making off with $686 in cash after allegedly robbing Shaw’s with a water pistol. Ellsworth police say they are investigating another theft at Walmart, which may result in an additional shoplifting charge against Parsons.
Justice Donald H. Marden set Parsons’ bail at $5,000 cash or $25,000 surety. Bail conditions include not visiting any Hannaford, Shaw’s or Walmart, submission to random searches and testing and no possession of alcohol or drugs. Parsons was returned to Hancock County Jail after his bail hearing.
Employees at Hannaford called the police around 7:45 p.m. Saturday, July 21, after seeing a man “behaving erratically” in the store, said Lt. Harold Page of the Ellsworth Police Department.
Page said officers arrived at the supermarket and spoke with Parsons, who gave the police a fake name, and told him to leave the property. It wasn’t until later that Hannaford accused Parsons of stealing a carton of milk, Page said.
After leaving Hannaford, Page said Parsons — wearing a baseball cap and a bandana over his face — allegedly entered Shaws, told a cashier he had a gun and demanded all the money in the drawer.
“He never showed the pistol, but the cashier said there was a bulge under his jacket,” Page said Monday.
Shaw’s employees called police after the suspect had left and two officers — with the help of two residents who trailed the suspect — apprehended Parsons behind Pizza Hut on High Street. The officers found a lime-green water pistol on Parsons and reported that he seemed to be under the influence.
Page said Parsons later told police he had taken bath salts earlier in the day but was no longer feeling their effect. Parsons had a list of prescription narcotics in his pocket, and had approached the Shaws pharmacy, which was closed, before heading to a cash register, Page said.
“We believe his intention was to rob the pharmacy,” Page said.
In court on Monday, Assistant District Attorney William Entwistle said Parsons had indicated he would use the money to buy drugs.
Parsons’ next court date is scheduled for Sept. 20. The felony robbery charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Shoplifting, a Class E crime, carries a maximum six-month prison sentence and $1,000 fine.
Parsons made headlines last year when an Ellsworth police officer rescued him from a burning vehicle by smashing the car’s rear window with an expandable baton and pulling Parsons, who was driving the car, to safety.
Follow Mario Moretton on Twitter at @riocarmine.