By Neil H. Dempsey
---- — SWAMPSCOTT — Police say they’ve identified the suspect who stole a man’s $12,000 Rolex wristwatch during an armed robbery at a Humphrey Street address this August — and say he might have been behind a string of similar crimes across three states.
Brice Charest, 23, of 172 Upper Guinea Road, Lebanon, Maine, is the subject of a warrant with a charge of armed robbery, according to a press release from Detective Sgt. Tim Cassidy. He was being held yesterday at a jail in York County, Maine.
The Swampscott robbery occurred on Aug. 9, when a partner in the Four Seasons Motor Group dealership at 460 Humphrey St. met with a potential buyer of a watch he’d posted for sale online. After examining the watch, the suspect pulled out a black handgun, then fled the building in the direction of Cedar Hill Terrace. Police were unable to locate him.
The identification of Charest as a suspect came after Swampscott detectives worked with several other police departments that had seen similar Craigslist-type robberies, Cassidy wrote.
One of the robberies that Charest could have been involved with occurred in August in the parking lot of a McDonald’s in Raymond, N.H., Cassidy wrote. During that incident, a suspect showed a black handgun and then fled on foot.
“The suspect had contacted the victim through Craigslist and arranged to meet the victim to purchase an expensive piece of jewelry,” Cassidy wrote.
It was unclear why that robbery failed.
There were also similar robberies in South Portland, Maine, and Hampton, N.H., Cassidy wrote. A detective in South Portland was responsible for identifying Charest as a suspect. Charest was picked out of a photo lineup by a robbery victim, according to the release.
That detective then contacted Swampscott police, who showed witnesses and the victim in the Humphrey Street robbery another photo lineup. They also identified Charest, police said.
Police in Westfield also did a photo lineup, and Charest was identified there, too, police said.
Swampscott police encourage any other departments that have had similar incidents to contact them at 781-596-8869.