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Ellsworth Police log week of July 28



ELLSWORTH — Police received 112 reports of shoplifting between Jan. 1 and July 21 of this year, almost double the amount the department has seen during that time period in the past.

For reference, the number of shoplifting cases reported during that time in 2018 was 65, dropping to 47 in 2019, and climbing back up to 58 in 2020. The number was exceptionally low in 2021, with only 25 cases reported, but that was due mostly to the conditions created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The rise in reported incidents, however, does not necessarily mean that more people are stealing from stores. It just means that more people have been caught.

“Shoplifting goes on every day, everywhere,” Capt. Shawn Willey explained. “But we don’t get a call for shoplifting unless a store catches a person in the act. So, you’ll only see a case pop up if they have someone doing loss prevention.”

Willey says that usually when stores invest in their loss prevention departments, and are willing to prosecute those they catch, the number of reported cases goes up. Walmart, one of the more frequent sources of shoplifting reports, recently bolstered its loss prevention team, according to Willey.

Despite the fact that upticks are generally driven by heightened vigilance from stores, police would not rule out the current economic conditions as a possible factor.

“We have seen that some of the larger instances of theft from stores have been people who have admitted to us that they don’t have enough money to pay for groceries,” Willey said. “So economic factors do play a part in shoplifting cases as well.”

Citizen assists

On July 19, officers mediated a verbal dispute between two individuals.

The agency received a report of a child who had run away from home on July 21. Officers quickly located the youth, who was brought to Northern Light Maine Coast Hospital to receive mental health assistance.

A man who had just been released from the hospital on July 22 waved an officer down and requested a ride home. The officer obliged.

A local business called police on July 23 to report that an intoxicated man was attempting to leave and drive home. Officers arrived in time to prevent the man from driving.

A woman called police on July 25 asking for assistance with her electric car. During the call, the woman figured out the issue and hung up on the dispatcher.

Well-being check

On July 22, officers were asked to check on the well-being of an individual acting strangely in the parking lot of a local business. That person was brought to Northern Light Maine Coast Hospital to receive mental health assistance.

Suspicious activity

On July 21, a caller reported receiving a threatening voice message on his phone. Police contacted the person who left the voicemail and told him not to call again.

On July 24, a man reported to police that he thought he heard someone trying to open the door to his home, causing his dogs to bark. Officers checked the area and did not locate anyone.

Dough drop

On July 25, a man called police to report that a vehicle with out-of-state plates pulled into his driveway and left a bag containing packages of cookie dough on his steps.

Agency assists

Police and fire department personnel and EMTs from Northern Light Medical Transport responded to a call on July 19 regarding a man who had reportedly been assaulted hours earlier in the entryway to the district courthouse in Bangor. The man was transported to the hospital but declined to report the incident to law enforcement.

Officers assisted the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office in locating and interviewing a man on July 24.

Police also assisted the Sheriff’s Office on July 25 by mapping the scene of an accident with the department’s drone.

Trespassing and disorderly

Officers responded to a report of a possible assault on July 18. After an investigation, it was determined that an assault had occurred but not as reported. The victim declined to pursue charges.

On July 19, officers responded to a domestic dispute. Both parties involved left for the day to prevent further issues.

Officers received a call on July 21 regarding an individual putting trash in a local business’s dumpster. That person ultimately removed the trash from the dumpster.

On July 25, police received a disorderly conduct complaint. Upon further investigation it was found that there was no disorderly conduct taking place. A resident of the home had just spilled a large amount of water.

Thefts

Krystal Whitney, 36, was summoned on a theft charge on July 17 after police received a call from a local business.

On July 21, a man reported the theft of his cell phone, charging cord and tobacco products. The incident is under investigation.

Officers received a report of a theft totaling approximately $500 on July 22. According to police, all the items were recovered shortly after the report was received and the victim declined to press charges.

Evelyn Harper, 39, of Southwest Harbor was summoned on a theft charge on July 24. Harper allegedly stole merchandise totaling $58.

Both Trinity Leet, 18, and James Banks, 22, of Lamoine were charged with theft on July 23.

Arrests and summonses

Three youths were summoned on criminal mischief charges on July 15 after a report of vandalism at Knowlton Park. According to police, there are more individuals who are expected to receive summonses stemming from the same incident.

Owen Harding, 34, of Ellsworth was arrested on July 19 after police responded to a report of a landlord, Harding, allegedly damaging propane tanks at a residence on the Bucksport Road. Harding was arrested on charges of criminal mischief and violation of bail. Harding also was charged with violating a protection order taken out against him by Erin Harding.

Erin Harding, 34, received a summons that same night on a charge of violating the protection order that Owen Harding had taken out against her. Police found that the two were sharing a residence. In order for the protection orders to be lifted, the two would have had to go to court and request the change.

Nicolette Walls, 47, a transient, was arrested on July 20 on two outstanding warrants.

Joseph Gionet, 57, a transient, was summoned on a charge of violating conditions of his release on July 21. Police said he was found riding a bicycle on Myrick Street while carrying a bottle of alcohol.

Forrest Davis, 24, of Lamoine was arrested on July 21 on a probation violation charge.

Jason French, 50, was arrested on July 23 on two warrants, one for unpaid restitution from a theft and one for failure to appear in court on a contempt hearing.

Aaron Gallegos, 31, a transient, was arrested on July 25 on a charge of violating the conditions of his release.

Zachary Lanning

Zachary Lanning

News reporter Zach Lanning covers news and features in the Ellsworth area. He comes to Ellsworth by way of New Jersey, which he hopes you don't hold against him. Email him at [email protected].

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