SOUTH PORTLAND — City police believe a Lebanon man stole two rings at gunpoint on Aug. 11 outside a Maine Mall Road hotel.
Police in two other New England states, meanwhile, also suspect Brice Charest has done the same thing in their communities, after luring victims he found online.
Charest, 23, of Upper Guinea Road in Lebanon, was indicted Nov. 10 by a Cumberland County grand jury on a Class A robbery charge. He is being held at York County Jail in Alfred.
An indictment is a finding that enough evidence exists to prosecute, not a finding of guilt.
In court documents, South Portland Police Detective Steven Connors said Charest contacted a Pownal resident who offered an engagement ring and wedding band for sale on Craigslist.
Charest then allegedly met the victim and his companion around 8:30 p.m. Aug 11 outside the Doubletree Hotel, and agreed to pay $7,000 for rings the victim valued at almost $15,000.
When the two went to finish the sale in the hotel parking lot, Charest allegedly pulled out a handgun and stole the rings.
Connors said police were able to track Charest by tracing a call he made to the victim before meeting him in South Portland. Charest allegedly used a phone bought and activated at the Sanford Wal-Mart, and he appeared in store photos making the purchase.
In his report, Connors noted Charest is suspected in similar robberies in Westfield, Mass., and Raymond N.H.
Swampscott, Mass., police detective Sgt. Tim Cassidy said police issued a warrant charging Charest with an Aug. 9 armed robbery, according to an Oct. 18 report in the Salem News.
Cassidy said Charest is accused of stealing a $12,000 watch at gunpoint from a victim he contacted online.