Bail set at $50,000 for suspect in store robbery spree

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LEWISTON — Three times Rodney Morant asked for change, then demanded money when unsuspecting convenience store clerks opened their registers, according to a police affidavit.

Police allege that at the second stop, Cumberland Farms on Sabattus Street, Morant told the clerk, “I’ll kill you.”

At the fourth stop, Big Apple on Lisbon Street, he wrestled with the clerk while holding a knife. Police said Morant later told them he’d robbed the stores to pay off drug debts.

The four robberies netted about $292, according to the affidavit by Lewiston Detective Roland Godbout.

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Morant is charged with three counts of robbery and one count of violation of condition of release for a string of alleged robberies late Tuesday into Wednesday morning. His bail was set at $50,000 cash in Lewiston District Court on Friday.

At the time of his arrest, Morant was out on bail on a robbery charge and had a pending theft charge, District Attorney Norman Croteau said. Throughout his appearance Friday, Morant, dressed in a blue jumper, stood and covered his face with his right hand, which was bandaged from fingertips to elbow.

“He’s a danger to the community,” Judge John Beliveau said.

Attorney Alan Lobozzo, representing Morant, had argued for lower bail. Lobozzo said his client had lived at 50 Fairmount St. with his family for 18 months.

According to the affidavit, Auburn police got a report of a robbery at the Xpress Stop Convenience Store at 484 Center St. on Tuesday night. The clerk described the man as large, black and wearing a hooded sweatshirt.

A man fitting that description robbed Cumberland Farms three hours later, telling the clerk, “I’ll kill you.” At the third robbery, the Cumberland Farms on Main Street, the clerk and Morant allegedly traded blows after money was swiped from the register.

Lewiston Lt. Adam Higgins interrupted the fourth robbery. He walked into the Big Apple as Morant allegedly fought with the clerk while holding a knife. Higgins yelled to Morant to drop the weapon.

“The suspect put his hands over his head, yelled that he was sorry and for Lt. Higgins not to shoot him,” Godbout wrote. “The suspect refused to drop the knife and started walking around the back of the counter toward Lt. Higgins.”

Police say Morant eventually tossed the knife on the floor and ran out the back door where Higgins caught up with him outside.

“Morant advised that he was remorseful for committing the robberies and did so due to needing money to repay drug debts,” Godbout wrote.

Morant, 39, will appear in court again on July 29.

kskelton@sunjournal.com

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