Escape vehicle provided a trail of clues leading to the arrest of a Portland theft suspect
December 16 – A police officer monitoring a Portland address last weekend as part of a drug investigation helped detectives find a man they believe was responsible for a spate of recent local thefts .
Details of how police tracked down and arrested Joseph Evers, 41, were contained in an affidavit filed Wednesday in Portland Unified Criminal Court ahead of his first appearance before a judge on three counts of robbery.
Police allege that between December 4 and December 10, Evers robbed the CVS pharmacy on Forest Avenue and a TD bank on Congress Street in Portland, and the Key Bank on Route 1 in Falmouth. In each case, the suspect threatened violence but did not show a weapon.
Investigators also believe Evers was responsible for attempted thefts at Domino’s Pizza on Forest Avenue and the Walgreens Pharmacy on Marginal Way in Portland. But he was only charged with misdemeanor theft in the Walgreens incident, where he stole a bag of M & Ms after an employee told him there was no money in the drawer and that he should go and the two exchanged blasphemies.
Evers’ lawyer for the day, Cory McKenna, argued the trail of clues that led to Evers was not strong enough to charge him, but Judge Nancy Mills said the police work showed a sufficient link. Mills ordered that Evers be held on $ 10,000 bail, or $ 3,000 if he agrees to abide by the terms of a pre-trial release contract, abstain from drugs and alcohol, obey to a curfew and to stay away from companies that he is accused of theft.
No charges have been filed in connection with the Domino incident. In this case, according to police, someone entered the fast food restaurant on December 5 and demanded money, but the employees did not hand over any cash. The potential thief left the counter in frustration, making his way to downtown Portland in a Honda SUV with a Florida license plate on it. Evers could still face charges in this case.
Prosecutors must appear before a grand jury to seek charges on all three counts of robbery and may choose to present evidence in the attempted heists.
Evers, who appeared from a jail cell via Zoom, did not speak at the hearing except to admit that he understood the allegations against him. He does not have a criminal history in Maine, where he has lived for eight years, works full time and helps maintain the hiking trails in his spare time, McKenna said. Evers did not answer questions during his arrest in Falmouth, and police did not suggest a motive.
Assistant District Attorney William Barry said Evers had a history of contact with Florida police in situations involving drugs. But McKenna said he had never been convicted of a felony in Florida.
Police linked Evers to the crimes using surveillance footage they collected after the December 6 robbery of TD Bank in Westgate Shopping Center.
The footage, collected at a Dunkin ‘restaurant in the same shopping plaza, showed a brown Honda CRV circling the area and parking out of sight of the bank. The driver then walked about 75 meters and entered the bank lobby before handing a note to a cashier. He was calm and mumbling.
“I don’t mean to hurt, but armed, stay calm (and) silent,” wrote Portland Police Detective Jessica Brown in an affidavit filed in support of probable cause.
Police located the suspected getaway vehicle after the surveillance officer in the unrelated drug case had a Florida license plate on a red Honda CRV similar to the vehicle described by the Domino employee and visible on Dunkin’s security footage.
The vehicle registration went to a woman with addresses in North Carolina and Rhode Island.
Police then released a CARFAX report using information unique to Honda’s vehicle and learned that it had recently been repaired at a mechanical shop in Rockland. A phone number was found on the invoice. The owner of the SUV told Brown that she loaned the vehicle to a friend in Portland named Joseph Evers while she was briefly away in Canada.
She said Evers lived on Lincoln Street, which is close to Forest Avenue and the Westgate Mall. But when they got there, the police couldn’t find the SUV, only a truck registered in Evers.
Evers’ friend also told the detective that Evers worked at Handy Boat in Falmouth. When Portland detectives visited the company on Monday, they found both Evers and the Honda CRV.
When they searched Evers, they found specially marked $ 20 bills that were taken from Key Bank in Falmouth during the December 10 robbery, according to a Falmouth Police report.