October 20, 2021

Rite Aid clerk thwarts robbery Mass. man charged in Newport holdup

BANGOR – A Massachusetts man who asked for Valentine’s Day advice in a Newport drugstore, then allegedly pulled a knife on the clerk, most likely will celebrate the holiday far from his sweetheart – in the Penobscot County Jail.

Kevin Armstrong, 21, of Somerville, Mass., is charged with robbery and carrying a concealed weapon. In Armstrong’s first court appearance Monday, District Court Judge Jessie Gunther set bail at $5,000 cash or $25,000 in surety.

Armstrong allegedly told the Newport police Sunday, shortly after he attempted to rob the Rite Aid in Newport, that it was a “spur of the moment thing” because he needed money to get back to Boston.

The Massachusetts man, who told police he had been visiting an uncle in Newport, left the store empty-handed, without flowers, cards, candy or cash.

Armstrong allegedly entered the Rite Aid on Main Street in Newport shortly after 4 p.m. Sunday, walked around the store, then left without approaching anyone.

A few minutes later, according to court documents, he returned to the store, walked up to the cashier behind the register and asked what he should get his girlfriend for Valentine’s Day.

The clerk told him roses, according to a witness statement filed with Newport police. Armstrong then allegedly went to the photo area, where the male manager was working, and looked at DVDs.

When Armstrong asked him for an application for a Rite Rewards card, he was sent back to the cashier at the front of the store, according to court documents. There were no applications for the card, which offers discounts on certain products, at the photo area, the manager wrote in his statement.

While he was filling out the paperwork for the card, Armstrong began flirting with the 17-year-old clerk, calling her “sweetheart,” “darling” and “honey,” according to her statement to police. He allegedly told her to open the cash register as she was completing paperwork for the card.

She refused.

“I looked up and the male was holding out a knife and I backed off so he couldn’t reach me,” she wrote. “I said, ‘No!’ I called [the manager] for help by using the page button. While [the manager] was coming to the front of the store, the male walked off. Just before leaving, he said, ‘Don’t worry, it’s not real.'”

When police arrived, they found Armstrong standing outside the gas station next door to the drugstore, talking with the gas station manager.

Police found a knife with an 8-inch blade in a pocket of Armstrong’s pants, according to court documents. He allegedly told officers that he carried it for protection in the Boston area where he lives.

Armstrong is scheduled to be arraigned April 14 in Penobscot County Superior Court. If convicted, he faces up to 30 years in prison on the robbery count alone.

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