At about 4 p.m. on Sunday, a young man wearing a long-sleeved red shirt loped across Willett Avenue, away from the Rite Aid store he just allegedly robbed.
A small group of people, including some of the folks who work at the Rite Aid, stood in the parking lot in front of the store and waved frantically at a Barrington police cruiser as it sped around the Willett Avenue rotary, its blue and white lights flashing.
The peoples’ waves soon morphed into points — the intended recipient was Joel E. LaFrance, a 27-year-old Metropolitan Park Drive resident, who was then running down Richmond Avenue.
The hard-charging cruiser obliged and veered across the oncoming lanes of Willett Avenue onto Richmond. A few seconds later, the chase ended.
Police arrested Mr. LaFrance, who allegedly threw something on the ground with his left hand while swallowing numerous pills from a white bottle with his right hand. According to police, the pills were hydrocodone.
Police ordered Mr. LaFrance to lay down on his stomach and spit out the pills though he reportedly did not comply. First responders later transported Mr. LaFrance to a hospital.
Police also found other pills and a syringe near the scene.
Barrington police turned those items and Mr. LaFrance over to East Providence; police charged the Barrington man with three felony counts of attempted kidnapping, robbery and assault with a deadly weapon.
Initially, police were advised of two male suspects, including one male with blond hair and another in a red long sleeve shirt with black pajama pants and a camouflage jacket. According to East Providence police, Mr. LaFrance entered the pharmacy demanding narcotics while holding a syringe. He reportedly went behind the counter and forced a pharmacist into the rear of the pharmacy, where he grabbed some medication. Mr. LaFrance also reportedly threatened a customer who tried to intercede with a syringe.
He was due in court for arraignment on Monday.
— With reports from Mike Rego and George Morse