LEWISTON — Rice found in the tread of a suspect’s shoes helped lead to arrests in the mugging of a Chinese food delivery man.

Three males were arrested and charged with robbery and theft in the April 9 mugging.

An Androscoggin County grand jury indicted two men on related charges. The third is a juvenile. He was released to the custody of his mother.

In a police affidavit, Detective Joey Brown wrote that a delivery driver went to 169 Bartlett St. at 8:46 p.m. to deliver $72 worth of takeout food from Chopsticks restaurant of Lewiston. The driver called the telephone number he had been given and was told to meet the customer in the hallway.

The driver climbed the stairs to the second-floor landing, where he was met by a male wearing a black Columbia jacket and black pants. According to the affidavit, the driver told the customer how much was owed for the food. The customer then said he did not have the money.

The driver “did not feel right and began walking down the stairs to leave the building,” Brown wrote.

The same male, this time joined by two men, confronted the driver in the building’s first-floor hallway. Someone punched the driver in the head before he was kicked by a second person, who wore red shoes, he later told police.

The driver dropped the food to the floor and fell back against the stairs while the three males picked up the food and fled the building through a back door, Brown wrote.

In city surveillance video of Pierce and Birch streets, police could see three males who appeared to be carrying Chinese food takeout containers running down the street shortly after 8:46 p.m. One of the males appeared to have red sneakers, Brown wrote. 

Police went to an apartment at 96 Birch St., where they found Melvin Blake, 23, who was the renter, and a 16-year-old juvenile. Officers saw a pair of red sneakers “with what appeared to be Chinese rice stuck to the bottom of them,” Brown wrote.

Officers also saw a black Columbia jacket draped over the back of the couch.

One of the officers observed Chinese food takeout containers on top of the garbage can, Brown wrote.

Blake told police he had been wearing the red shoes, but had gone grocery shopping at Walmart, bought some marijuana and returned home that night. After he was shown a clip from the surveillance video, he denied knowing anything about the mugging, Brown wrote.

Blake and Kulcharan Singh, 19, also of 96 Birch St., were charged with robbery, punishable by up to 30 years in prison, and theft by unauthorized taking, a misdemeanor.

Blake said he had a gun. Police later charged him with possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, a misdemeanor.

The juvenile was charged with robbery and theft. He told police he was told to go for a walk with the two men, according to police. The men instructed him to meet with the driver and tell him he had no money. He said Blake and Singh jumped the driver and knocked the food from his arms, then fled with it.

The juvenile denied assaulting the driver. He said he had worn a black Columbia jacket.

Bail for Blake was set at $5,000 cash or supervised release and $10,000 for Singh. Both men are scheduled to be arraigned Friday.

Melvin Blake, left, and Kulcharan Singh

Melvin BlakeKulcharan Singh

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