AUBURN — Police converged on Walmart on Wednesday afternoon after a man reportedly walked out of the store with a stolen gun.
Officers got their suspects and perhaps a few deer ticks in the process.
The weapon was an Airsoft pistol, police said, taken by a suspect last seen headed toward the back of the store at about 5:15 p.m.
Several officers searched the area behind Walmart and neighboring stores but there was no sign of the suspect.
Witnesses reported seeing the man run into the woods in the area between Walmart and BJ's Wholesale Club. Police soon followed, entering the heavily wooded area between Park Avenue and Summer Street.
Auburn police Sgt. Laurie Woodhead said the officers soon came upon some of the store packaging that had contained the gun. That led them to an area where they found Nick Tatu, 27, still in possession of the Airsoft pistol.
Auburn police Officer Justin Richardson caught up with Tatu and arrested him, police said, but the suspect didn't go willingly.
Tatu was taken out of the woods and charged with theft, criminal threatening, criminal trespass, refusing to submit to arrest and violating conditions of release stemming from an earlier arrest. He remained at the Androscoggin County Jail later Wednesday.
According to Woodhead, the officers who chased the suspect had to go back to the station for a tick check following the arrest. No one was complaining much, though — the call came in at about 5:15 p.m. and the suspect was in custody less than half an hour later.
"The officers did an outstanding job," Woodhead said.