Wednesday, June 25, 2003

S.P. armed robber on the loose

Published in the American Journal

A man who robbed a South Portland video store at gunpoint remained at large as the American Journal went to press Tuesday. Police are seeking a heavy-set 5-foot-5 “Hispanic-looking” male in his late 20s or early 30s with a thin moustache and a thick but intelligible accent.

Just after 9 a.m. Monday, an employee of Blockbuster Video on Waterman Drive, just beside the Casco Bay Bridge, was locking the store’s door to go across the street to a bank when a man approached from behind, according to Detective Eric Jesseman of the South Portland police.

The store wasn’t even open yet, but the man told the employee he had a gun and ordered him back into the store.

Inside, the man displayed a black and white semiautomatic handgun and told the employee to clean out the safe.

The suspect, wearing a baseball cap and hooded sweatshirt to hide from security cameras, ordered the employee to lie on the floor until he left the store, at which point the employee called police. The man was seen running from the store.

Later in the day, a South Portland officer spotted a man who matched the suspect’s description near the intersection of Broadway and Evans Street. That man fled on foot, and officers were unable to catch him, Jesseman said.

Police are hoping someone may have seen the suspect loitering near the store before the crime. “This guy had to be, in my opinion, staking this place out,” Jesseman said.