Probe into Walmart threat continues

By Stephen Betts | Sep 03, 2019
Photo by: Stephen Betts This is the residence on Mt. Pleasant Street in Rockport where Jeremy Rogers had been staying.

Thomaston — Local and federal law enforcement continue to investigate the case of a 25-year-old Connecticut man who was charged with threatening to bring a gun to a local Walmart store.

Jeremy H. Rogers of Norwalk, Conn., remains held at the Knox County Jail in Rockland in lieu of $50,000 cash bail. He is charged with felony terrorizing with a dangerous weapon, felony terrorizing and felony possession of a firearm by a prohibited person.

Rogers was arrested Aug. 22 after quick work by police when a woman reported he had sent a threatening video over Facebook messenger.

New York State Police alerted police in Rockport that Rogers had sent a video via Facebook messenger to a woman in New York showing him wearing a ski mask and holding an AR 15 rifle. In the video, he is quoted as saying "F... it, I'm going to Walmart," according to an affidavit filed in Knox County Court in Rockland.

A second video showed Rogers, without a mask, making disparaging comments about a woman and pointing a gun at his head, according to the affidavit.

Rockport police were alerted because family members said Rogers had recently moved to the town.

Thomaston police were notified and Police Chief Tim Hoppe said Walmart stores in Thomaston and Augusta were immediately made aware of the threat. The Thomaston store closed at 9 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 21, out of caution, the chief said.

Hoppe worked with Rockland police and they were able to track down Rogers' location to a residence on Mt. Pleasant Street in Rockport.

Another video was then found on Facebook of Rogers shooting off the semi-automatic AR-15 rifle into the air on the grounds of the Rockport property.

Police went to the property and found it was fenced, with barbed wire atop the fence.

Hoppe said he had just walked out of the Knox County courthouse Aug. 22 with the arrest warrant for Rogers when the suspect was spotted by Rockland Police Sgt. Joel Neal, who had been keeping the Rockport property under surveillance. The Thomaston chief said Rogers was taken by surprise by Neal and did not resist arrest.

Rogers made his only court appearance thus far at the Knox County court Aug. 24, where Judge Barbara Raimondi set bail at $50,000 cash.

An attorney has yet to be appointed for Rogers, who is next scheduled to be in court Sept. 25.

An AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, a shotgun, a 9-millimeter Glock handgun, and two black powder handguns, along with ammunition for the weapons, were seized after Rogers was arrested.

A criminal background check on Rogers found he had convictions in 2016 in Connecticut for criminal possession of a firearm, and causing risk of injury to a child, according to court records.

Hoppe said Tuesday, Sept. 3, that the shotgun is believed to have been stolen and the FBI is working on tracking down where Rogers obtained the other weapons.

The chief said the homeowner on Mt. Pleasant Street was completely unaware of what Rogers had been doing and has fully cooperated with law enforcement.. He said the two men knew each other from Connecticut.

The chief said that while the property was fenced off, it was not a survivalist compound, although police initially did not know what they were facing before apprehending Rogers.

"This was a serious threat that was received and was not taken lightly. A swift response, coordinated effort, and serious undertaking in personnel hours by surrounding law enforcement agencies led to Rogers being safely apprehended prior to carrying out any threat," Hoppe said.

The chief said the U.S. Attorney's Office is also involved in the case and federal charges may be filed against Rogers.

Hoppe thanked other law enforcement agencies, including the Rockland Police Department, Rockport Police Department, Camden Police Department, FBI and the Maine Warden Service. The Thomaston Police Department also highlights the work of the dispatchers at the Knox County Communication Center, who were working through the duration of this incident: making endless phone calls and seamless connections.

The local threat came less than three weeks after a man killed 22 people and wounded 27 at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. And a few days later, a man in Florida was arrested for threatening to commit a mass shooting at a Walmart in that state.

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