Ripton man charged with robbing RiteAid pharmacy

MIDDLEBURY — A Ripton man on Tuesday told a court that he did not steal prescription drugs from the Rite Aid Pharmacy in a Sunday evening robbery of the Middlebury store.
Michael Maheu, 40, pleaded innocent in Rutland Superior Court, criminal division, to a felony count of larceny from a person, in connection with the Dec. 28 robbery. He faces up to 10 years in jail and/or a fine of up to $500 if convicted.
In court records, Middlebury Police Det. Kris Bowdish said that Maheu — a recovering opiate addict — turned himself in on Dec. 29 after seeing media reports surrounding the crime.
It was at around 5 p.m. on Dec. 28 that a man walked into the Rite Aid on Court Street and presented the clerk with a bag and a note reading, “Place 30 T of Oxycodon 30 mg in bag,” according to court records. The clerk, who reported being afraid that the suspect was hiding a gun beneath the jacket he was wearing, placed eight pills worth a combined $38 into the bag. The suspect was also wearing a green hoodie and ski mask in an effort to conceal his facial features, according to police reports.
“I was shaking and I was in fear for my safety,” the clerk told Bowdish during an interview. “I just wanted to get it over with.”
The man grabbed the bag and fled the store.
Middlebury police quickly launched their investigation, which revealed (through surveillance camera footage) the same suspect had been in Kinney Drugs earlier that day, according to Middlebury police Sgt. Vegar Boe.
Police concluded the next day (Dec. 29) that Maheu was their lead suspect, according to court records. That suspicion gained more credibility when a woman who identified herself as Maheu’s domestic partner came to the police station and said she recognized the man from media reports about the incident, according to court records.
“I … immediately knew it was Mike,” the woman allegedly told Bowdish. Two other people also contacted police stating they recognized Maheu’s photo from the media reports of the crime.
The woman said she confronted Maheu about the incident, whereupon he allegedly “closed his eyes and held his head in his hand. He said things like ‘it was so stupid,’ and ‘it was a stupid, desperate choice,’ which confirmed my suspicions,” according to court records.
The woman also told police that Maheu had been struggling with drug addiction for around six years and had been receiving suboxone treatment to wean himself off of opiates, according to court records. But Maheu had allegedly been unable to get a suboxone prescription filled in a timely manner as a result of the holidays and was intent on averting withdrawal symptoms, according to court records.
The woman also told police that Maheu had been suffering from depression and that she was concerned he might try to harm himself.

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