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Boston man tries to rob, threatens to shoot Brookline pot customer

(Richard Vogel/Associated Press/File 2019)

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A Boston man was arrested Tuesday night after allegedly following a customer leaving a Brookline recreational marijuana store and threatening to shoot him if he didn’t hand over the marijuana he had purchased.

The victim told police he was walking down Harvard Street in Brookline after leaving New England Treatment Access when he heard a man approach him from behind on a squeaky bicycle, according to an arrest report from Brookline police.

The man on the bike, 28-year-old Adrian Thomas, reportedly asked for a cigarette, but the NETA customer said he did not smoke. Thomas then asked for marijuana, to which the customer again responded that he did not smoke.

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The customer crossed the street — heading toward Kent Street at this point — and Thomas allegedly stayed on the other side of the street.

A short time later, the victim again saw Thomas and was “fearful that the individual was following him,” police said. The victim continued to change directions as he walked, but also continued to hear the squeak of the bike wheel.

“He became fearful that the male would approach him again so he took out his cell phone in case he needed to call for help,” according to the report.

The man then turned around to face Thomas, at which point Thomas allegedly threatened, “Give me the weed or I will shoot you,” police wrote, adding that Thomas had his “fist clenched as if he was holding the butt of a small pistol,” with a tattoo visible on his hand.

The victim said he wasn’t sure if Thomas had a weapon but was “extremely scared” that he would be attacked. Noticing a woman walking her dog on the other side of Davis Avenue, he stepped into the middle of the street to discourage Thomas from attacking him with a witness nearby.

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“The woman walking her dog distracted the male and gave him a chance to create distance from him,” police said.

The victim walked away and called police, as Thomas rode by on his bike.

An officer saw Thomas nearby shortly after and followed him, asking him to get off his bike. Thomas allegedly refused and continued riding away from the officer, abruptly changing directions and ultimately jumping off his bike and running as the officer ordered him to stop.

Thomas eventually faced the officer but reportedly refused to get on the ground and continued to resist as he was arrested around 11:15 p.m.

Thomas faces one count of attempt to commit armed robbery and one count of resisting arrest, according to police.

He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Wednesday, according to a spokeswoman from Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey’s office. Bail was set at $500, and Thomas was ordered to undergo GPS monitoring and to stay away and have no contact with the victim.

New England Treatment Access was the first — and currently only — recreational marijuana shop in the metro Boston area. It is one of 18 recreational marijuana shops open across the state.


Felicia Gans can be reached at felicia.gans@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @FeliciaGans.