Portland pharmacy robber pleads guilty in federal court

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PORTLAND — A man who caused a bomb scare and shutdown of Congress Street last month pleaded guilty to robbery charges Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Portland.

Jason Campbell, 39, of 40 Alder St., faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine after pleading guilty before Judge Jon D. Levy to robbing the CVS pharmacy at 510 Congress St., according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Thomas Delahanty II.

Court records from an investigation by city police and the FBI show Campbell entered the pharmacy just before 9 a.m. on April 11, carrying a backpack containing a soda bottle with wires attached to it.

After approaching the pharmacy counter, he opened the backpack and told the pharmacist he was carrying a bomb. Campbell demanded the store be evacuated and closed, and that he be given prescription pain medications, Delahanty said.

After receiving three kinds of drugs, Campbell dropped the backpack and clothing in a trash can outside the store and fled on foot. But he was recognized by store employees, and was arrested a short time later near his  home. Some of the stolen drugs were recovered, according to court records.

Congress Street was closed by police from Brown to Center streets while the Police Department Hazardous Devices Unit retrieved the clothing and backpack, which contained no explosive devices.

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or dharry@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

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A member of the Portland Police Department Hazardous Devices Unit removes what was found not to be an explosive device from a garbage can outside the CVS pharmacy at 510 Congress St. on April 11. Jason Campbell, who placed the device in the can after robbing the pharmacy, pleaded guilty to robbery in U.S. District Court in Portland on May 14.

Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.