A Brewer man and woman allegedly threatened a Bangor man with a spiked baseball bat and bear pepper spray, then made him strip down to his boxer shorts to prove he had not stolen drugs from them.
The alleged victim, wearing nothing but his boxer shorts, managed to escape the pair at his Center Street apartment and flag down a passing police officer about 8 a.m. Monday, according to the Penobscot County District Attorney’s office.
Details on how he escaped have not been released.
Ronald J. Cote, 42, of Brewer was arrested that night and charged with robbery and kidnapping, both Class A crimes, and theft by unauthorized taking, a Class C crime.
Under Maine law, kidnapping is defined as preventing a person from leaving a place as well as forcing them to go somewhere they don’t want to.
Cote made his first court appearance remotely before a judge Wednesday at the Penobscot Judicial Center from the Penobscot County Jail. His co-defendant, Nicole Ford, 42, of Brewer is wanted by Bangor police in connection with the alleged attack. She had not been apprehended by Wednesday afternoon.
The victim told police that he had been using cocaine and fentanyl with the couple that he’d obtained from them early Wednesday morning, Mercedes Gurney, assistant district attorney for Penobscot County said.
The couple accused the victim of stealing drugs from them, which he denied. They threatened to beat him with a spiked baseball bat, a regular baseball bat and a can of bear pepper spray, manufactured to be used in the woods in a bear attack, Gurney said.
The defendants made him take off all of his clothes except his boxer shorts and allegedly were starting to take him to the basement of the apartment building to beat him when he managed to escape.
Later on Monday, police recovered the baseball bats, the pepper spray and drugs from the victim’s apartment.
District Court Judge John Lucy set bail at $15,000 cash with conditions that Cote have no contact with the victim or Ford, that he abstain from drugs and alcohol, not possess any dangerous weapons and abide by a curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Prosecutors sought the bail imposed.
Cote said through lawyer of the day Peter Bos that he could not afford such a high bail and is the sole provider for his children, ages 6 and 8. Bos recommended bail be set at less than $1,000.
If convicted, Cote and Ford, who are facing the same charges, could be sentenced to a maximum of 30 years in prison and ordered to pay fines of up to $50,000 on the robbery and kidnapping charges. They face up to five years in prison and fines of up to $5,000 if convicted on the theft charge.