Wednesday, February 5, 2003

Armed robbery spree in S.P.

Published in the Current and the American Journal

South Portland police are looking for three separate suspects in connection with a recent spate of armed robberies at businesses in the city.

The first was Tuesday, Jan. 28, at 8:30 p.m., at the Sheraton Tara Hotel at 363 Maine Mall Road. A white male went to the front desk, told the clerk he had a gun and asked for money. The clerk wasn’t able to open the safe, so the man left, according to South Portland Detective Sgt. Edward Sawyer.

The man was about 5 feet, 10 inches tall, about 180 pounds, with a green winter stocking mask pulled over his face and a blue jacket with a tan collar.

Then on Feb. 3, at 1:51 a.m., a black male went into the Irving station at 474 Westbrook St., showed a knife and demanded money. The clerk gave the man money, and the robber left.

That man was described as about 20 years old, 5 feet, 9 inches tall, about 150 pounds, with a dark winter hat, black leather coat, carpenter- style jeans, a blue bandanna on his head and white gloves.

And shortly after 1 a.m., Feb. 4, a white male entered the Best Western at 700 Main St., “displayed a handgun and demanded money,” Sawyer said. That man got away with money as well. The suspect was described as in his mid- to late-20s, about 5 feet, 9 or 10 inches tall, 140 to 150 pounds, with strawberry blond eyebrows, pale blue eyes and pale skin, with no scars or facial hair, wearing a full-length black trench coat, a black knit hat, a black scarf, black gloves and blue jeans.

“It’s difficult to say at this point whether they’re related,” Sawyer said. Police continue to look for the suspects.

They are also “comparing notes” with Portland police, who are investigating two armed robberies between 9:30 and 10 p.m., Feb. 2, according to Detective Reed Barker. One was at Wild Oats on Marginal Way and the other was at the McDonald’s restaurant on St. John Street. The suspects in those incidents have similar descriptions to each other and to the suspect at the Best Western robbery Feb. 4.