A 24-year-old Rockland man will spend five years in prison for a Sept. 30 robbery at the Rite-Aid Pharmacy in Rockland in which he wielded a machete.

Joshua Powell was sentenced May 17 in Knox County Superior Court to 14 years behind bars with all but five years suspended for robbery. He also pleaded to stealing drugs and criminal threatening. Powell was also charged with assault while being held at jail.

Assistant District Attorney Christopher Fernald had requested a 15-year sentence with all but six years suspended while the defense had argued for six years with all but three years suspended.

The un-suspended part of the sentence can be imposed if Powell violates probation after his release.

Powell has been held at the Knox County Jail since he was arrested at gunpoint by Rockland police officers during the robbery.

Deputy Police Chief Wallace Tower and Detective/Sgt. Chris Young were the first to arrive and found Powell, still with the machete, standing by the soda/beer cooler. Powell was ordered at gunpoint to drop the machete, which he did.

The police report states that as Powell was being handcuffed he said, “I had to get attention somehow.”

Powell had three prescription bottles of Endocet on him, a drug that is an opiate and pain reliever.

According to police reports, when Powell jumped over the counter he told the staff that no one would be hurt but that he wanted the safe opened and for him to be given all the drugs.

Police reviewed the surveillance tape in which he is shown holding the machete with both hands in a menacing way at one of the technicians. The tape shows that after he was given the drugs, Powell jumped back over the counter and went down one of the aisles and consumed some of the drugs before throwing the prescription bottle on the floor, according to the police report.

There were four staff members in the pharmacy area.

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