AUBURN — A Lewiston man admitted Friday to robbing the Tim Hortons coffee shop on Sabattus Street in Lewiston last year.

Nathan P. Parker, 22, of 22 Peter Boulevard pleaded guilty in Androscoggin County Superior Court to the Class B felony, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

In an agreement reached with prosecutors at the District Attorney’s Office, Parker won’t have to serve more than three years in prison and can seek a shorter sentence on the charge.

He also pleaded guilty to violating a condition of release, a misdemeanor.

On Dec. 5, Parker went into the coffee shop and handed a cashier a note that threatened her if she didn’t give him all the money in the drawer. He apologized, but told her “times are tough,” according to Assistant District Attorney Andrew Matulis.

The cashier handed him $242. A surveillance video showed a man entering the shop, going into the bathroom, buying a cup of coffee, then handing the cashier a note, Matulis said.

The clothes worn by the man in the video matched the outfit Parker’s mother told police her son wore that day, Matulis said. She had called police concerned about her son’s well-being, he said. Parker told the judge Friday he was taking medication for depression.

Police said Parker told a detective that he had robbed the coffee shop because “he was desperate for drugs and needed to pay a debt,” Matulis said. Parker said he used the stolen money to buy “oxy,” opiate-based prescription painkillers.

Parker had been a participant at drug court. Had he stayed out of trouble, he would have received a suspended six-year sentence, with three years of probation for earlier burglary and theft charges.

Instead, he will serve 18 months in prison on those charges. But before he does, he will serve whatever sentence is imposed by a judge at a later date on the robbery charge, Matulis said.

Parker agreed that he could be found guilty by a jury if Matulis had presented all of his evidence and witnesses at trial. Parker denied he threatened the life of the cashier.

Parker’s arrest followed a long search that started the night before he led police on a foot chase before he disappeared into the woods around Garcelon Bog.

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