BANGOR — Robberies were reported at three pharmacies in greater Bangor within a two-hour span Sunday afternoon, and one man was arrested.
Emergency calls to police were placed from Rite Aid pharmacies in Bangor and Brewer within minutes of each other, and the pharmacy at the Hannaford grocery store on Union Street in Bangor was targeted a little over an hour later.
Police have not said if anything was taken from any of the three pharmacies, but one person — Jeffrey Macy, 46, address unknown — was arrested by Bangor officers in connection with that community’s Rite Aid incident, and police continued to search Sunday night for at least one other suspect.
The similarities between the descriptions of the Bangor Hannaford suspect and the Brewer suspect have led officers to consider that both crimes were committed by the same man, Brewer police Deputy Chief Jason Moffitt said Sunday night.
“We’re actively looking at that possibility,” the Brewer officer said.
Brewer responded to a robbery call from the Rite Aid on Wilson Street at about 3:45 p.m.
“The best description we have is a white male, 5 foot, 6 inches tall with an average build in his 30s, wearing a blue hooded jacket of some sort,” Moffitt said.
Video evidence was taken from the store, the deputy chief said.
Minutes later, at 3:50 p.m., the Rite Aid at the corner of Union and Fourteenth streets in Bangor was hit by a man, later identified as Macy, who was quickly taken into custody, Lt. Tom Reagan said at 4:40 p.m.
Macy was charged with Class A robbery, felony criminal threatening and felony trafficking in prison contraband, as well as refusing to submit to arrest, operating under the influence, refusing to stop for a police officer and two counts of possession of scheduled drugs, a Penobscot County Jail official said. His bail was set at $10,000 cash.
While Bangor officers were taking Macy into custody, details about a known accomplice of his who drives a red Dodge Dakota pickup truck were released to law enforcement in Brewer, a Penobscot Regional Communication dispatcher confirmed.
“Right now they’re going on a guess,” the dispatcher said.
Maine State Police, Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office deputies and officers from Holden and Orrington searched for the Brewer suspect. Search dogs were used.
The pharmacy inside the Hannaford grocery store on Union Street in Bangor was reportedly robbed at about 5:05 p.m. The Hannaford store was closed temporarily and the doors reopened, allowing customers to leave the store at about 5:20 p.m. Four Bangor police cars were parked outside.
The man who reportedly robbed the Hannaford pharmacy was recorded on video surveillance cameras and is described as a white man in his mid-30s, with salt-and-pepper-colored hair and no facial hair, a Bangor officer confirmed.
Police believed the man, who was wearing a blue sweatshirt and an orange hat, left in a purple Chevy Malibu or Chevy Cobalt. He gave the pharmacy clerk a note saying he had a gun and wanted oxycodone.
No one was injured in any of the reported robberies.
The three robberies or attempted robberies in Bangor and Brewer on Sunday mark the 41st, 42nd and 43rd to occur in the state this year.
Pharmacy robberies in Maine, which were virtually nonexistent several years ago, have increased dramatically over the last four years, jumping from just two reported in 2008 to eight in 2009, 21 in 2010 and 24 last year.
Mainers’ addiction to diverted prescription pills is the likely source of the trend, Roy McKinney, director of the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, has said.
Some pharmacy robbers are drug addicts looking to feed their habit and others are drug dealers who are “purely profit-driven,” McKinney said, adding that diverted prescriptions typically sell on the black market for $1 a milligram.
This is the third time the Bangor Rite Aid pharmacy, located at 556 Union St., has been robbed this year.
Two suspects were caught in May and arrested in the wooded area between Sunset Avenue and the southbound lane of I-95 after robbing the pharmacy, according to previously published accounts in the Bangor Daily News.
Nine days before, the same pharmacy was robbed by a “very grubby” older man who passed a note to the pharmacist through the drive-thru window on May 21, saying he had a bomb. The man, who has not yet been apprehended, was given an undisclosed amount of prescription drugs.
Law enforcement continued Sunday night to search for the man who robbed the Brewer pharmacy, and possibly the Bangor Hannaford pharmacy.
“He is still at large,” Moffitt said.