LEWISTON — Daryl Scott Roberts confessed to snatching a wallet from an elderly woman as she pushed her walker down the hallway at the Oak Park Apartments, according to court documents.
In an affidavit filed with Androscoggin County Superior Court, Lewiston police officer Thomas Murphy said Roberts, 27, of Turner, told Lewiston police during an interview that he had gone into the apartment building Aug. 3 looking to steal something so he could get some money. According to the document, Roberts said he was on Xanax, an anti-anxiety drug, when he slipped into the building through a garage door that had been left open by a tenant. Roberts said he approached a woman standing next to her walker, asked “How are you doing?” and then grabbed her purse and ran out of the building, the affidavit said.
That police interview took place Aug. 24, according to the document. Police released Roberts that day, then tracked him down and arrested him a week later, on Aug. 31. Lewiston Police Chief Michael Bussiere said officers did not immediately arrest Roberts after his alleged confession because they needed to confer with the District Attorney's Office about the appropriate charges and they needed time to obtain an arrest warrant.
Roberts was arrested Tuesday and charged with felony counts of burglary and theft, as well as misuse of identification, a misdemeanor. Bail was set at $2,500 cash, police said. As of Wednesday afternoon, Roberts had not made bail and was still in Androscoggin County Jail.
Edith Ryder, 80, suffered a stroke earlier this year and uses a walker. She lives at the downtown Oak Park Apartments and was in the hallway on Aug. 3 when she was approached by a seemingly friendly man. That man snatched her wallet from the shelf of her walker, where she kept her phone, magazines and other belongings, and then fled. Some of the wallet's contents, including family photos, were dumped and later recovered. Other items, including Ryder's food stamp card, Social Security card and driver's license, remained missing.
In the court document, Murphy said police linked Roberts to the crime through Ryder's missing food stamp card, also known as an EBT card.
According to the affidavit, Roberts changed the EBT card's security pin number using Ryder's Social Security number and her date of birth from her driver's license, then sold the card to buy a $50 piece of crack cocaine. In the document, Murphy said police learned that the EBT card was used at Walmart hours after it was stolen.
Using video surveillance from the store, he said, police identified the couple using the card and that couple later led them to Roberts.
Murphy said witnesses also picked out Roberts from a photo lineup, identifying him as the man they had seen in and around the apartment building the day Ryder's wallet was stolen.
Roberts has a history of criminal activity, including convictions for 12 misdemeanor crimes and one felony drug charge, sending him to jail for a total of 202 days. His record includes:
* In 2001, when he was 18, Roberts was convicted, in separate cases, of disorderly conduct and carrying a concealed weapon. He was fined $100 on the disorderly conduct charge and jailed for 24 hours on the weapons charge.
* In 2002, he was sentenced to serve 90 days in jail for misdemeanor criminal mischief, with all jail time suspended.
* In 2003, in separate incidents, he was convicted of theft by unauthorized taking and assault, and he was fined $100 for each.
* In 2004, he was convicted of theft by unauthorized taking and sentenced to serve 90 days, with all jail time suspended.
* In 2005, he served four days in jail and was fined $300 for obstructing a public way and assault. In a separate incident that year, he was fined $150 for disorderly conduct.
* In 2006, Roberts was convicted of stealing drugs, a felony, and was sentenced to serve 18 months in jail, with all but 90 days suspended. He was also found to have violated probation twice, once in 2002 and again in 2006.
* In 2009, Roberts was convicted of theft by authorized taking or transfer and was ordered to pay $390 in restitution and serve 52 days in jail.
* In January of this year, he was convicted of theft by authorized taking and spent 59 days in jail. On Aug. 6, three days after police say he stole Ryder's wallet, Roberts was convicted of carrying a concealed weapon and fined $150. He also still faces a pending felony burglary charge stemming from an incident in 2009.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, which administers the food stamp program, theft and unauthorized use of EBT cards is rare, affecting less than one-tenth of 1 percent of cards issued. In order to use an EBT card, a person must have the card's pin number. To change the pin number, a person must have the Social Security number and date of birth of the card's owner.