April 06, 2020
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Robbery suspect can’t make bail

BANGOR – In debt and in trouble from a drug addiction, a Bangor man told police this week that he robbed a local convenience store where he delivered the employees’ payroll every week.

Charged with robbery, John Charpentier, 39, remained at Penobscot County Jail on Thursday evening unable to make bail set at $5,000 cash or $75,000 in real estate after his initial appearance in 3rd District Court in Bangor that same day.

On Monday, Charpentier allegedly entered the Mt. Hope Variety store and brandished a hammer, demanding the clerks give him money from the cash register, according to court documents.

Police searched the area for Charpentier, who has ties to Bucksport and Orrington, and located him Wednesday morning at a friend’s home in Bangor.

Court documents released as part of Charpentier’s court case revealed details of what led to the incident. One person who knew Charpentier told police that he had been spiraling downward lately.

Suspecting he was under investigation for embezzlement and acknowledging he had a “heavy cocaine habit,” Charpentier told police that he was angry after a telephone call Monday. Noticing a hammer in his friend’s cellar, he picked it up and headed to the store.

Inside the store, Charpentier stopped at the front register and handed the clerk a plastic bag of change as if to purchase cigarettes, according to court documents. As one of two clerks in the store was counting the change, Charpentier told him to empty the register.

When the clerk hesitated, Charpentier hit the side of the register with the hammer. He then slammed the hammer on the counter and told the two clerks to “give me the money,” according to the court documents.

The clerks dumped the money onto the counter and Charpentier scooped it up and put it into a bag before demanding the clerks move closer to him. One clerk fled out the back door and called police from a nearby residence.

The robber turned and stumbled into the support pole in the middle of the store before leaving through the front entrance, the clerk who remained behind told police.

Charpentier became the focus of Monday’s robbery of the Mt. Hope Variety after a store clerk recognized him as the man who dropped off the weekly payroll for the store. Charpentier had also bought cigarettes from the store frequently enough for the clerk to have known his brand of preference.

Charpentier estimated he took $600 to $700 and spent it all on cocaine, beer and cab rides. He told police that he spent $50,000 on cocaine last year and even more than that this year.

Charpentier led police on Wednesday to a grassy area near the intersection of Route 222 and Wagner Road in Levant where he had thrown the ball peen hammer used in the robbery.

When police first met him at the friend’s house, Charpentier claimed he was planning on turning himself in and admitted that he had “another crime out there.”

Charpentier was summoned by Bucksport police for Class C theft stemming from another incident.

Correction: This article appeared on page B2 in the Coastal edition.

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