GREENVILLE – For want of a beer, and for encountering a store clerk with a good memory, a Texas armed robbery suspect likely will spend the holidays in jail, according to police.
Nathan Dilworth, 30, of Katahdin Circle was charged early Tuesday with being a fugitive from justice. He is being held without bail at the Piscataquis County Jail awaiting extradition, a jail spokesman said.
Dilworth’s trouble began during a stay at his mother’s apartment at the Pritham Park housing complex on Katahdin Circle on Monday night. He went to a Route 15 convenience store and bought a beer, Police Chief Scott MacMaster said.
The store clerk recognized Dilworth and apparently recalled that he has a long criminal record in the Greenville area – including a conviction for a 2003 burglary of a town pharmacy, Harris Drug Store, in which about $10,000 worth of prescription drugs were stolen, MacMaster said.
The clerk telephoned police at about 9:45 p.m. Sgt. Jeff Pomerleau ran a National Crime Information Center search on Dilworth and learned that he was wanted in San Antonio on an armed robbery charge, MacMaster said.
By midnight, Pomerleau, MacMaster and a Piscataquis County deputy sheriff were on their way to the home of Dilworth’s mother. There they found Dilworth, MacMaster said.
“What it comes down to, I would say, is community policing in that somebody from the community identified this individual and told us that he was back,” MacMaster said Tuesday, “and we were able to get a potentially dangerous person off the street.”
Community policing is a law enforcement philosophy that promotes organizational strategies that support the systematic use of partnerships with residents and problem-solving techniques within the community to solve crimes and social problems.
The clerk “did an excellent job by notifying us,” MacMaster added.
MacMaster declined to identify the clerk or the store, saying that the clerk might fear retribution. Route 15 has many convenience stores, he noted.
San Antonio police said Tuesday they were seeking Dilworth in connection with an armed robbery of a Chase Bank branch on Nov. 28 in which $4,827 was stolen, police said Tuesday.
Robbery witnesses reported that a man wearing a purple sweat shirt came to a bank counter at about 4:50 p.m. that day and pulled a note out of his jacket that said, “I want all the money you have. No marked bills or dye packs or you die.”
When clerks complied, the man put the note in his pocket and ran from the bank. A witness reported that the man, believed to be Dilworth, dumped the sweat shirt on a nearby street as he ran away, according to police. Police recovered the sweat shirt and videotape surveillance from bank cameras, but the report they provided Tuesday does not specifically state what links Dilworth to the crime.
Dilworth pleaded guilty to the Greenville pharmacy burglary and theft in 2004 and got two years in prison on each count. He served the concurrent sentences with all but six months suspended, including two years of probation.
Dilworth was one of two burglars who pried open a door off an alleyway to enter the drugstore and took about 700 OxyContin pills of varying strengths, 50 injectable doses of morphine, 100 tablets of Endocet, which is a combination of oxycodone and acetaminophen, and about 400 tablets of morphine sulfate, according to police reports.
Also taken in the break-in was $370 from a small metal cash box and $50 in rolled quarters.
Bangor police also charged Dilworth with criminal trespass in 2003, when a witness reported seeing a man climb atop a porch and enter a second-story window of an empty French Street house. Officer Dennis Lally said he found Dilworth on the floor inside the house.
Dilworth said he came in to use the phone.
Dilworth is due in Dover-Foxcroft District Court to answer the charge of fugitive from justice on Jan. 5. MacMaster said it’s likely, however, that Texas authorities will apply for extradition before then.