ELLSWORTH — Myles Connor is returning to the city he escaped from 52 years ago.
On Aug. 19, The Grand in Ellsworth will host the Maine premiere of “Rock ‘n’ Roll Outlaw,” a documentary that tells the story of Connor’s life as a musician on the run from the law. The show will include a performance by local group The Ian Black Band, and Connor will join them on stage.
Connor is an infamous art thief and rock ‘n’ roll musician who was arrested in Sullivan in 1965 after breaking into a house in search of items to steal, according to his biography. His jailbreak relied on overpowering a guard in Ellsworth.
“I just think it’s a really neat event for The Grand to be doing,” said Kim Fitch, the theater’s operations manager. “It’s a part of history.”
Fitch has a unique connection to the story: her grandfather was the sheriff of Hancock County and ran the jail that Connor broke out of using a fake gun. Connor had carved a bar of soap and painted it black using shoe polish, then hid on the roof of the library while deputies searched for him below.
Fitch said her cousin, Erik, was particularly interested in the story and in 2014 contacted Boston-based filmmaker Bruce Macomber when he found out the film was being made. Macomber had been looking for someone to help fill in the details about the jailbreak.
“The guy couldn’t believe it. He was like, ‘we’ve been trying to find someone who knows about this,’” Fitch said. “Within four days, they were headed up here.”
Fitch’s grandmother, Dorothy, was interviewed for the documentary, and the crew filmed with Connor at the site of the former jail.
When Connor came up for the filming, Fitch said, he sat down for dinner with the family and filmmakers to recount stories.
More recently, according to news reports, Connor was implicated in a series of petty burglaries in New England between 2011 and 2012. He now lives in Blackstone, Mass., and occasionally attends events to discuss his life.
Bill Clark, the former Hancock County Sheriff, said he’s wary of Connor’s reception in Ellsworth
“I’m not sure that Myles Connor ever saw the light — it’s glorifying dastardly deeds,” he said. “We struggle with this all the time of infamous people making a profit off their crimes.”