January 18, 2022

Man robs Old Town gas station > Police mount search for armed, masked suspect

OLD TOWN — A man with a gun and wearing dark clothing and a blue ski mask robbed a Gulf gas station on Stillwater Avenue on Wednesday evening.

Shortly after the 6 p.m. robbery was reported, police from several agencies scoured the area near the Stillwater Gulf station, the Whim Station apartment complex and Sullivan’s Automotive Service on foot and in patrol cars, and searched with a police dog.

Police shut down the service station, and investigators were expected to be there into the night processing evidence.

Two attendants were inside the small gas station at the time of the robbery. The man apparently came from an area behind the station, entered and approached the counter.

One attendant, who did not want to be identified, said the man put a Shop ‘n Save bag on the counter and demanded, “Fill it up.”

The attendant said he looked at him incredulously until the man revealed the butt of a pistol inside his clothing.

The attendant complied with the demand, handing over an estimated $1,500 in cash. The man ripped a speakerphone off the wall and took the receiver with him as he fled. The attendant said he thought he saw the man make a motion with his hand as if he were throwing the receiver away as he ran into the shadows.

With no phone to call police, the attendant ran to the manager’s house next door to the station to call police.

“It’s the first time I’ve seen anything like this,” said Josh Doucette, the station’s manager, who has worked at the station for about eight years, the last eight months of them as manager.

It’s not the first such armed robbery handled by Old Town police, but it’s the first in about eight years. The last armed robbery is believed to have occurred Jan. 6, 1992, when Peter Skowronski — who later claimed to be Jesus Christ — robbed the Shop ‘n Save store and commandeered a customer’s car to get away. He was convicted and sentenced to prison.

In Old Town on Wednesday, the attendant said he had become angry after being robbed and threatened with a gun. When he returned to the station, he got into his truck and went searching for the man himself.

“He just threatened me with a gun — wouldn’t that make you mad?” he said after investigators from the Old Town Police Department and the regional Violent Crimes Task Force had completed interviewing him at the Old Town police station.

The search effort rapidly expanded as police from Old Town and Orono, state troopers and Penobscot County sheriff’s deputies arrived. They canvassed the area and went door-to-door to neighboring homes, including to the Whim Station apartment complex, reported Old Town police Sgt. Ryan Carter.

The dog picked up a track, investigators said, but information about where the track led was not available later Wednesday night. Old Town police Detective Joel Phelps said it wasn’t known whether the man had gotten into a motor vehicle to aid his escape.

The man police are looking for is described as about 5 feet 10 inches to 6 feet tall, thinly built and weighing about 150 pounds. He was believed to have been in his early 20s. He was wearing a dark coat and pants and had gloves on, according to police.

Anyone with information about the robbery can contact police at 827-6358.

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