BANGOR — Shortly before dawn Monday, a 21-year-old Bangor man allegedly forced his way into a local apartment and demanded drugs at gunpoint, according to police.
The man, who apparently picked the Cedar Street residence at random, reportedly fled after a woman who lived there explained that she had two young children inside and asked him to leave.
Police lost the man’s trail shortly after receiving a call at about 5:30 a.m. But almost an hour later, after a chase that included foot patrols, five cruisers and a K-9 unit, dogs trailed the suspect’s scent to a fire escape behind the Greyhound Bus Terminal on Main Street.
Eyewitnesses told police they had seen the man climb through the window to an apartment where he lives above the terminal. That is where they arrested Jose Harvey and charged him with robbery, a felony that comes with a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. He is expected to appear today in Maine’s 3rd District Court in Bangor.
Police did not release the names of the Cedar Street residents. Calling the incident “very bizarre,” Lt. Roy McKinney said police were still investigating the reason that apartment was targeted.
Detectives found no motive for the incident, McKinney said, but noted there was a strong smell of alcohol on the suspect. Harvey’s arrest record is limited to an outstanding January warrant for driving under the influence of alcohol.
The Cedar Street residents told police they did not know the suspect. But in the sleepy hours of the gray morning, when the loud rappings came from the front door, for a moment they thought they might have.
A voice identified itself as “Tim” — the name of a family acquaintance. The woman opened the door partway, enough to know the man was definitely not their friend.
“He pushed the door open,” said McKinney. “He had a handgun and he was demanding drugs.”
When the woman asked him to leave, the man fled — without taking anything, without harming anyone, police said. McKinney explained that a robbery charge is filed even in the event of an attempt.
As were many residents who live near the intersection of Cedar and Second streets, Marianne Hoogerbeets was awakened by the pre-dawn commotion. Her first line of defense, a Dalmatian named Barkly Sue, “was kinda muffing. Then she began barking really loud.”
“I heard someone yell `Stop, police!,”‘ said Hoogerbeets, who lives next door to the scene of the alleged crime. “Then they went off running. One policeman must have been in a hurry because he left his car door open.”
The incident, she said, only confirmed her suspicions that the neighborhood has become unsafe. Each night before she goes to bed, she locks her doors and windows. She sleeps with a can of pepper spray, a telephone at her side.
“We have some shady characters who run up and down this street late at night,” she said.
Detectives spent most of the day conducting interviews and placing Harvey in suspect line-ups for identification. Despite several eyewitnesses who said they saw the suspect brandishing a dark-colored handgun, police had not recovered the weapon as of late Monday.