Friday, October 27, 2006

It all leads to coffee brandy…

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Police: McDonald's robbery report false

WATERVILLE -- A pregnant 20-year-old was arrested Wednesday and charged with felony theft and filing a false report of a robbery Oct. 3 at the McDonald's Restaurant where she worked on Kennedy Memorial Drive.

Lisa Didas of 296 Main St., Waterville, reported being robbed at gunpoint at the drive-up window of the fast-food eatery.

Didas went as far as sitting down with police the next day to compose a sketch of the bearded man she said drove off in a dark colored car and disappeared.

She told police she was desperate for cash and needed help.

There was no robbery, no gunman and no getaway car, Waterville police Detective William Bonney and Police Chief John Morris said Wednesday.

Didas allegedly stashed more than $1,000 in McDonald's cash receipts on her body in a place she felt sure police would not search, they said.

"She was an employee of the McDonald's," Bonney said. "She's pregnant, she's got a 6-month-old child and she told me she can't do it alone; she needs some help and this was kind of a last resort for her."

Bonney said Didas has a boyfriend, but no husband and no child support.

The first report came into the command center at the Waterville Police Department at 2:40 p.m. that Tuesday.

Police officers fanned out across the city, some monitoring Interstate 95 for a possible getaway car.

The driver was said to be a man with dark or black hair with a lot of facial hair.

A young female employee of McDonald's, who turned out to be Didas, was interviewed by police in the parking lot, then extensively inside the restaurant.

She declined to comment on the robbery to a reporter as she left the restaurant.

"We're not supposed to talk about what we saw," she said.

Bonney said Didas probably had the money on her person during the interviews.

"She took the money, concealed it and then called 9-11," Bonney said. "She made the story up -- she told me that she was desperate, she needed the money."

"There was no robbery and there was no accomplice," Morris added.

Bonney and Morris said Didas was "checked" that day and not searched.

"She wanted it to be over," Bonney said. "She was scheduled for a polygraph on Monday.

"I knew that this was wearing on her and I went to talk with her and she was ready for it to be over."

Bonney said he tried to investigate the robbery as if it had happened the way Didas had reported it, but he kept his options open and continued looking at her as a suspect as well.

"I was never able to eliminate her as a suspect," he said. "There were things right from the start that didn't make sense."

The theft charge is a Class C felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.

The false report charge is a misdemeanor, punishable by no more than 364 days in the county jail.

"We spent a lot of time chasing our tails because of the false information she provided to us, including the composite she made for us," Morris said.

Morris added that Didas also was arrested a few days after the robbery and charged with theft at Hannaford's supermarket. He said she was not stealing food for her family; she was caught stealing alcohol.

She was charged with stealing a half-gallon of Allen's coffee brandy and a liter of Southern Comfort.

Didas was released without having to post bail Wednesday on the theft and false report charges and will appear in court to face the charges in the coming weeks.