LEWISTON — The man's name is Joshua, and he's blind and uses a wheelchair. On Tuesday night, the 31-year-old was robbed by a pair of men who ripped a bag out of his hands and fled.
It happened near Dave's Place, a store at the corner of Sabattus and College streets shortly after 10 p.m.
"I was sitting outside, waiting for my brother to pick me up from New Gloucester," Joshua said. "I was sitting in my wheelchair."
Two men approached him outside the store and asked him for a cigarette.
"Me being a nice guy, I gave them one," Joshua said. "They said I was sitting too close to the gas pumps and told me to move to the side of the store."
The men moved away from the front of the store, said Joshua, who lives in Rumford. A few moments later, the men shoved him, Joshua said, and then grabbed the bag he had wrapped around his wrist.
The bag contained just about everything Joshua needs to get by, he said. Pain medication, a cellphone, a MaineCare card, a wallet, roughly $200 in cash and a check for a couple hundred more.
"I started yelling," Joshua said. "There were witnesses."
Police were there moments later. A short distance from the store, at 100 College St., they found and arrested Michael J. Lagasse, 32, of 153 Sabattus St. He was charged with robbery and taken to the Androscoggin County Jail in Auburn.
Joshua's cash, medication and other items were not recovered.
Police questioned others about the robbery and said there may be more arrests. But Joshua fears that the people who robbed him may not be prosecuted. In fact, he said he was told the case may be dropped by the District Attorney's Office.
"I wouldn't be able to identify them," he said, "because I can't see."
The status of the case could not be determined Wednesday night.
Joshua is 31 and suffers from a form of arthritis that has left him sightless and unable to walk. He said he would have no trouble identifying the voices of the men who robbed him. He also hopes the witnesses — there may have been as many as seven — will step up and help investigators.
Lagasse was released from the jail on Wednesday.
Joshua spent most of his night in the emergency room. It wasn't until around 7 a.m. Wednesday that he was able to return to his home in Rumford. By Wednesday night, he was still hoping to get his things back and wondering why he was attacked.
"I guess," he said, "I was an easy target."