NORTH BERWICK, Maine — A motorist police say was under the influence of
alcohol had a close call on the railroad tracks this past weekend.
On Saturday, Officer Daniel Pelkey responded to a call about a vehicle being driven southbound on the railroad tracks. According to Chief Stephen Peasley, when Pelkey arrived at the Route 9 overpass he spotted something amiss. A car appeared to be stuck on the main set of tracks.
In the distance, Pelkey spotted the headlight of an Amtrak train barreling down the tracks. The 2013 Volkswagen was not moving. Pelkey immediately had dispatch notify Amtrak of the situation.
The car's driver, Robert J. Grudowski, 45, of 103 Locksley Lane, Wells, was alerted of the incoming train and made it off the main tracks to the secondary tracks as the train passed within just a few feet of the vehicle. The train never came to a halt.
A half-full bottle of Jack Daniel's whisky was found on Grudowski's passenger seat. His blood alcohol content was determined to be .17. Anything at or above .08 while operating a vehicle is a criminal offense in Maine.
NORTH BERWICK, Maine — Police found an “elaborate marijuana growing
system” in the cellar of a High Street residence on Friday, according to
Chief Stephen Peasley.
According to police, Zachary M. Green, 33, of 224 High St., had 16 marijuana plants, averaging between 1 foot and 4 feet tall, inside his residence. Green also allegedly had grow lights, exhaust fans, harvested marijuana in bags, material to start new marijuana growth, a reflective curtain to obscure “intense” grow lighting, paraphernalia and an unloaded shot gn. All have been seized by North Berwick police.
“You wouldn't see the growing lights if you looked inside the house from a window. The reflective curtain was made for that purpose. In addition, he vented the drug odor outside, like you would a dryer,” Peasley said. He said Green did not have neighbors in close proximity.
Green has been charged with unlawful possession of a scheduled drug and scale, use of drug paraphernalia and cultivating marijuana.
He is scheduled to appear at the Springvale District Court on April 9.
NORTH BERWICK, Maine — Children from the North Berwick Elementary
Schools recently celebrated the 100th day of classes, on Valentine's
Day, with an abundance of charity for their community.
From boxes of cereal to soap and shampoo, the two elementary schools joined together to accumulate 3,400 items to donate to the New Covenant Food Pantry.
Kindergarten through fifth grade students spent the first six weeks of the New Year raising awareness and gathering donations. MSAD 60 Superintendent Steve Connolly gave a speech thanking everyone, especially the children, for their contributions.
“I've got goose bumps standing here. The volume of the collection is wonderful. What can I say? I'm extremely impressed,” said Connolly, referring to the children's unique displays of donated items.
The event's co-directors, Principal Ron Robert and kindergarten teacher Sharon Beckwith, celebrated the 10th anniversary of the event.
“The creativity, the passion, the understanding the children have for what they're doing for the community, it's wonderful to be apart of,” said Robert. The North Berwick Police Department was also present, donating 108 cans of soup and 108 cans of dog food, in honor of their new addition to the force, K-9, Hokey.
No Bail for Duo Charged with Armed Robbery: Accused of Threatening Clerk, Stealing Money from Somersworth Gas Station
Friday, August 3, 2012
The North Berwick Police Department is pleased to announce of the addition of K-9 Hoki to the department ranks.
Hoki and his handler, Officer Daniel Pelkey, graduated on June 8, 2012 from the Maine State Police K-9 Patrol School at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in Vassalboro. The pair completed the 12-weeks of training with 19 other dogs from all over the State of Maine.
Hoki is a 3.5 year old German Shepherd who was imported from the Czech Republic in 2010 by David Rackliffe of Von Woden Kennels in Weld, ME. Rackliffe, a Deputy for the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and K-9 Handler himself, has provided dogs for the Maine State Police, Department of Corrections, and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office.
Hoki will be certified as a Dual-Purpose K-9, meaning he will be trained in the following patrol areas: evidence recovery, subject tracking, suspect apprehension, and building searches. Along with his patrol functions Hoki will also be certified to alert on the odor of illegal drugs including marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, and crack.
The North Berwick K-9 Program came into existence only after a great deal of effort and support by both Department and Community members alike. Hoki has a great temperament for police work; he has lots of energy, a ton of drives, and takes a very methodical approach to searches. When Hoki isn’t on-duty he lives at home with Officer Pelkey and his family.If anyone has questions concerning the K-9 Program, would like more information about police canines, or would like to have Hoki make an appearance or conduct a demo, please contact Chief Stephen Peasley or Officer Daniel Pelkey and effort will be made to accomodate your request.
NORTH BERWICK, Maine — A Lebanon woman was killed in an early morning accident Friday after she was ejected from her vehicle.Johanna Timberlake, 25, of Lebanon, was traveling south on Lebanon Road at 1:18 Friday morning when she failed to negotiate a slight curve in the roadway. When her 2003 Mercury Sable hit the shoulder of the roadway, she then tried to steer out of the area back onto the pavement. This motion rolled the vehicle onto the passenger side of the car, the roof then the driver side, ejecting Timberlake from the vehicle.
North Berwick Police, Fire and Rescue responded to the scene after the incident was reported by homeowners who witnessed the crash in front of their home. Timberlake was pronounced dead at the scene.
According to North Berwick Police Chief Stephen Peasley, the cause of the accident is being deemed as driver inattention or distraction. Peasley said he doesn't suspect that alcohol or drugs were factors in the crash, though it is routine to complete a blood test with all fatal car crashes.
No skid marks were present at the scene. An accident reconstruction team from York County also assisted on scene.
BERWICK, Maine — The son and stepfather team wanted and suspected in a string of burglaries throughout southern Maine has been apprehended in Florida.
Adam Doherty, 20, and his stepfather, Rodney Chamberlain, 42, both of 246 Chelsey Hill Road in Gonic, were apprehended by Pinellas County Police on Saturday. They are currently being held in the Pinellas County Jail pending extradition from Florida to Maine.
According to Berwick Police Detective Bill Russell, the two will be making their way up to Maine within the next week. Although he couldn't officially confirm a crime occurred, Russell said his department had received a tip that a theft was committed at the Largo, Fla., hotel at which Doherty and Chamberlain were staying.
Russell said he is expecting more than a few area police departments to be waiting to speak with the duo when they return.
The two had arrest warrants issued for them in Sanford, North Berwick and Berwick in connection with several burglaries and attempted burglaries over the last several months in those towns.
Russell said other local police departments had expressed interest in speaking with Doherty and Chamberlain once they're returned to the area.
Chief Richard Conway of the Barrington, N.H., Police Department said his department has made no connection between Doherty and Chamberlain to any crimes in town, but said they would be interested in hearing what the two have to say to them or other departments once extradited back to the area.
In an earlier interview, Rochester Police Capt. Scott Dumas said burglaries had been occurring in Rochester almost everyday, but hadn't been able to tie Doherty and Chamberlain to any specific crimes in the city. However, Dumas said his experience has told him that individuals who commit crimes in one town are likely to commit crimes in neighboring towns.
Truck Strikes North Berwick Post Offce Building
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
NORTH BERWICK, Maine — No one was injured in a two-vehicle collision that involved one of the vehicles, a pickup, striking the town post office.
A pickup truck, for reasons officials have not been able to explain, drove into the front of the North Berwick Post Office on Wells Street, causing a "C" shaped crack in the brick facade.
When the driver attempted to back away from the post office, the pickup truck struck another car maneuvering within the parking lot.
North Berwick Police and Fire responded to the scene. Both vehicles sustained front-end damage and had to be towed from the scene. The crash also caused a minor oil spill in the parking lot. No one was injured during the incident.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation. According to fire officials on scene, North Berwick Police are handling the details of the investigation.
North Berwick Lt. Jim Moulton said Wednesday night he had no additional information about the accident.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
The business of reporting the news can be tedious and time consuming. Sometimes those of us in the business forget that those we seek news from work under the same or greater pressures.
Such has been the case while Foster's Daily Democrat has sought to report the details of July 11 crash between an Amtrak train and a tractor trailer in North Berwick.
The crash occurred at approximately 11:05 a.m. that day. It claimed the life of Peter Barnum, who was driving an 18-wheeler that failed to stop in time. The accident occurred at the railroad crossing on Elm Street at Buffum Road.
Since then Foster's has pushed for details, including the cause of the accident. Now, almost two and half months later we have a full report and the apparent cause — Barnum's use of a cell phone leading up to the accident.
This 71-page report authored by North Berwick Patrolman Timothy C. Neihoff offers a detailed look at the accident, the moments leading up to it and the investigation that followed. It includes witness statements, photographs, a detailed timeline, and statistical information.
The comprehensive nature of the report is a reminder of how meticulous investigators need to be in dealing with such serious matters. It also serves to illustrate the pressure small police departments can find themselves under at a moment's notice.
The North Berwick website lists a police chief, one supervisor, a training officer and a patrol staff of five to shoulder the bulk of the work load. Other staff include reserve officers, a school resource officer and other auxiliary staff.
(By comparison, Sanford, with a population greater than 20,000, employs 39 full-time officers and patrolmen.)
This means that North Berwick, with a population of approximately 4,300, does not have a lot of staff to pick up the slack when the department is hit by such a complex investigation.
On behalf of our staff and the community, Foster's Daily Democrat would like to thank the North Berwick Police Department for its professionalism, its due diligence and its stretched patience. An added thank you goes to Chief Stephen Peasely who briefly came off medical leave to answer some of our reporter's questions on Monday.
By AMANDA BELAND
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
NORTH BERWICK, Maine — North Berwick police are citing "inattention/distraction by the possible use of a mobile communication device" as the cause of a collision between a tractor-trailer truck and an Amtrak Downeaster train that killed a Farmington man in July.
According to a report released by North Berwick Police Lt. Jim Moulton, Peter Barnum, 35, of Farmington, N.H., "failed to stop for the working railroad crossing signals and gates," on July 11, shortly before noon at the intersection of Elm Street and Buffum Road. The report also cites that although Barnum "failed to stop," he did try to stop, as was indicated by the skid marks before the train tracks. Barnum died at the scene as a result of the collision, the report also states.
This conclusion by the North Berwick Police, after investigating the accident for more than two months, is the same conclusion drawn by the National Railroad Passenger Corporation in a civil suit filed against the trucking company that employed Barnum, Triumverate Environmental Inc.
The amended complaint, filed by the National Railroad Passenger Corporation represented by John Bonistalli of Boston, alleges that despite the crossing protection guards being in proper working order, the tractor-trailer truck, which was driven by Barnum, was operated around the crossing guards and into the moving Amtrak train.
Also under "General Allegations," the suit alleges, "Barnum failed to heed the warnings," and "Barnum negligently operated the tractor trailer combination so as to cause it to pass in front of a train."
In relief, the National Railroad Passenger Corporation is asking that Triumverate award monetary support for the damage caused during the accident to Amtrak's engine and passenger cars, legal and investigative fees, as well as funds for loss of business.
The official court document, as filed with the U.S. District Court, cited the total damage amount to exceed $3 million, though "the exact amount is unknown."
Although the exact amount is unknown and the costs are ongoing, the amended complaint cites the damage to the tracks and other property owned by Pan Am Railways, as well as the cost for clean up and repairs exceeds $200,000.
The court date for the suit has yet to be set. Triumverate has until Sept. 26 to file a rebuttal.
On July 11, Barnum's 18-wheel tractor-trailer carrying more than 50,000 pounds of trash collided with a Downeaster train at the intersection of Elm Street (Route 4) and Buffum Road, killing him in the fiery crash and injuring four others aboard the Amtrak train.
Man from Farmington, N.H., Dies After Downeaster Slams Into Tractor-Trailer in North Berwick
By AMANDA BELAND & Staff Photographer EJ HERSOM
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
NORTH BERWICK, Maine — A 35-year-old truck driver from New Hampshire hauling trash to a facility in Biddeford was killed instantly Monday morning after his vehicle went through a rail crossing at the junction of Route 4 and Buffum Road as an Amtrak Downeaster train was passing, creating a "huge" fireball on impact.
Trash littered the train tracks and surrounding area for hundreds of yards after the collision between the 18-wheeler and the train, said to be traveling at a speed of 70 mph.
Monday night The Associated Press was identifying the man killed as Peter Barnum of Farmington, N.H.
Initial reports on the number of people injured on the train differed between four and six.
At approximately 11:05 a.m the tractor-trailer was heading north on Route 4 when it reportedly crashed through one of the train barriers, according to North Berwick Police, and struck the train also traveling north, about 40 miles south of Portland.
The trailer, while in motion, was struck on the driver's side of the cab, ejecting the driver from the compartment and killing him instantly. It is unclear whether the driver was wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.
According to North Berwick Police Chief Stephen Peasley, it took crews "quite a while" to locate the driver's body.
Once the trailer was struck, the cab was reportedly dragged along the tracks with the train for approximately 200 yards. North Berwick Deputy Fire Chief Larry Straffin reported the conductor of the train, after noticing the front engine of the train was on fire, unhooked the fiery cab and separated it from the passenger cars to protect the train's passengers from the flames.
Along with the fire present in the front engine of the train, there were also fires reported by police along the tracks within trash piles. The fire within the engine was under control at approximately 11:20 a.m.
Straffin reported six passengers received minor injuries and were treated and released at the scene; Peasley stated that four passengers received minor injuries at the scene; and Amtrak officials, according to a spokeswoman, said four were hurt with three taken to Goodall Hospital in Sanford.
The reported 112 passengers on the train at the time of the crash were transported away from the scene by a variety of vehicles, including pickup trucks and school buses.
Peasley and Straffin could not estimate how many communities responded in mutual aid to the scene, but a partial list of responders include fire and police departments from Rollinsford, N.H., South and North Berwick, as well as Maine State Police, New Hampshire and Maine Railroad Police, Amtrak officials and emergency workers from York, Sanford, Lebanon and Acton.
A local accident reconstruction team was also present at the scene.
The truck driver worked for Triumvirate Environmental Inc., which is based out of Massachusetts, according to Maine Department of Safety spokesman, Stephen McCausland.
Peasley said the tractor-trailer was reportedly traveling to an incinerator in Biddeford.
A witness traveling behind the tractor-trailer who made the initial call to police said he didn't see brake lights from the trailer, but that he did notice the skid marks on the ground after the crash.
He said when he saw the trailer collide with the train, there was a "huge" ball of fire that erupted from the passenger compartment.
According to Peasley, another witness to the crash said the truck started to brake at the top of the hill before the tracks.
Witnesses also reported hearing the train whistle before the train approached the intersection, as well as seeing the train barriers lower and the red lights on the barriers flashing, indicating an approaching train.
Jessica Momenee, 35, of North Berwick, said the engine came to rest at the back of her property at Eastern Avenue.
Momenee said she and her three daughters were picking raspberries in their backyard when they heard what she said sounded like a large gunshot and then someone leaning on the train horn.
She said she and her daughters jumped into the car to drive away from the immediate scene, and then she saw the train engine in a fiery mass.
Momenee said all she could smell from her house was burning trash, and there was black smoke billowing everywhere.
One passenger from Florida, heading to Portland for vacation with his family, told a Foster's reporter he was sitting facing away from the engine and at first did not notice a significant problem.
He said the train car he was in shuddered a bit and didn't at first, seem to slow down.
Although the incident is still under investigation, Peasley said officials do not think the truck was trying to "beat" the train.
Workers cleared equipment and debris from the train tracks Monday night, allowing Amtrak's Downeaster to return to service about 12 hours after the deadly collision.
Amtrak announced Monday night that service was being restored with the final run of the day from Boston to Portland.
Contributing to this report as well as that posted on www.fosters.com were Foster's Daily Democrat staffers EJ Hersom, Jennifer Keefe, Scott Kinney and Mike Greear, as well as Sanford News staffers Chris Olio and Teri Strout. The Associated Press also contributed to this report.
NORTH BERWICK, Maine - An Amtrak Downeaster train crashed into a trash-hauling truck that had gone past a crossing gate yesterday, causing a fiery wreck that killed the truck driver and injured some passengers on the Portland-bound train.
North Berwick Town Manager Dwayne Morin said yesterday that the crash of Train 681 occurred at the railroad crossing at Elm Street, which is also Route 4, in the southern Maine town around 11 a.m.
Maine State Police spokesman Steve McCausland said the tractor-trailer truck’s driver, who was not named, was killed. Three passengers were transported to Goodall Hospital in Sanford, said Stephen Peasley, police chief in North Berwick. Two had smoke inhalation, and one had a head injury. They were treated and released, said Kristen Hill, a hospital spokeswoman.
Train passenger Mark Monti, 51, of Cambridge, Mass., said he was headed for a day on the beach when he heard the train whistle sound and then felt the impact of the crash.
“I felt a big hard jolt, but it was nothing that would throw people all over,’’ Monti said. “After we heard the impact, everyone was a bit shaken.’’
When police arrived at the scene, the truck’s trailer was enveloped in flames and black smoke, lying on its side in a ditch, next to the tracks. The cab was in pieces. Trash was strewn about the tracks.
Peasley said the railroad gate was lowered and the warning lights were flashing before the collision occurred at 11:50 a.m. Authorities found skid marks on the road that might have been from the truck, Peasley said. Witnesses reported hearing the sound of skidding wheels and the train blaring its horn.
Peasley said the investigation so far shows that the truck went thorough the gate and that the passenger side of the truck’s cab was struck by the train. The train continued to travel for about a quarter-mile, stopping just short of the next crossing on Main Street in North Berwick.
The driver of the truck, whose name was not released yesterday, was ejected from the cab and killed, police said. It was not known if he was wearing a seat belt.
Amtrak and State Police said 109 passengers were on board the train.
The crash created a fireball, left trash and debris all over the roadway, and sparked fires on the road and in nearby yards, witnesses said.
The railroad crossing where the collision occurred is in a rural neighborhood, surrounded by fields and rustic barnstyle homes with neat lawns.
Mollie Gandy, 25, lives in a white house next to the train intersection; she has a wooden sign saying “Railroad Crossing’’ above her door. She said she had just finished eating breakfast with her two children when she heard a loud crash.
“It was a huge bang,’’ said Gandy, who has lived in the house for a year and a half. “Our tree was struck by lightning a little while ago, but this was way more intense.’’
Her dogs started howling. When she looked out her window, she saw the truck enveloped in fire, black smoke streaming into the sky. Neighbors began to run over and call 911.
Dawn Belanger, 46, lives a few blocks from the crossing and heard the crash. She and her son ran down the road when they heard the sirens.
“There was trash everywhere,’’ she said. “You couldn’t see much because of the smoke.’’
Peasley, who has worked for New Berwick police for 25 years, said he did not recall having a train crash in town before.
Josh Pickett, 30, of Sanford, was heading to work at his job at an Internet company when he arrived at the rail crossing to find destruction everywhere.
“There were no police officers there yet,’’ Pickett said. “There was just a lot of big popping and plumes of smoke and then more pops. You could see the fires spreading around people’s yards. There were little fires in different areas and smoke for 50 yards. And where the road crossing was, there was debris and garbage and stuff kind of exploded all over.’’
Pickett said he could barely make out the remains of the truck.
“You couldn’t necessarily see it,’’ he said. “The truck was so far gone. It was decimated. It seemed really surreal.’’
Patrick Raftery, 47, an attorney who lives about a quarter-mile from the crash, said the engine, which had separated from the rest of the train, came to a stop at the end of his street.
“I was the first person to the end of Partridge Lane,’’ Raftery said. “There the engine was burning. The rest of the train was about 100 yards south of the engine and charred but not burning. [There] weren’t even any sirens yet, till a minute or two. I ran home and told my wife.’’
Raftery said the smoke and fire rose more than 100 feet in the air.
The Downeaster is Amtrak’s connection between Portland and Boston. Amtrak said the crash disrupted Downeaster service and that alternative transportation was being arranged for the passengers on Train 681.
North Berwick police are investigating the crash, said McCausland. Maine State Police sent troopers who specialize in commercial truck enforcement to assist.
Monti, the passenger, said the train’s crew worked quickly to explain what had happened and keep people calm. He said the accident does not make him scared to take trains in future.
“It was an accident,’’ he said. “It doesn’t happen every day.’’
John R. Ellement of the Globe staff contributed to this report. John M. Guilfoil can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globe_guilfoil. Martine Powers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
North Berwick Teen Charged with Growing Marijuana in Closet
By Kyle Stucker
Saturday, April 9, 2011
NORTH BERWICK, Maine — A Nowell Street man was charged Thursday with two misdemeanors after police received an anonymous tip he was growing marijuana in his bedroom closet.
Matthew Wellwood, 18, of Nowell Street, was charged with cultivation of marijuana and sale and use of drug paraphernalia after police found three young, 21⁄2- to 3-feet tall marijuana plants, a lighting rig, at least one pipe and marijuana seeds, according to Lt. Jim Moulton.
Wellwood was issued a court summons for the Class E misdemeanors, but wasn't arrested.
Moulton said the department received a tip about Wellwood's small operation on its anonymous Internet hot line at about 11:28 a.m. Wednesday. He said the department contacted the man's father on Thursday, and the father allowed officers to search the undisclosed Nowell Street house around 11:15 a.m. that day.
Police didn't obtain a search warrant, which wasn't needed because they were authorized to enter and search Wellwood's room through the father's consent, said Moulton.
Moulton said "as soon as (they) opened the bedroom door (they) could smell marijuana," and were quickly able to find the plants in the closet as specified in the anonymous tip. Moulton said the father wasn't aware of the growing operation, and said Wellwood had been using cologne to mask some of the smell.
Moulton said he has no reason to believe the incident is related to any other recent events.
Wellwood is scheduled for arraignment in Springvale District Court on June 28. Moulton said each offense carries "upward of a year in jail" should Wellwood be found guilty.
The North Berwick Police Department declined to release Wellwood's booking photograph.
North Berwick Police to Accept any Old/Unused Prescription Medication on a Year Round Basis
With each New Year, new ideas and thoughts are brought up for discussion. Recently the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration conducted a study and the results showed that the State of Maine has the highest rate of prescription drug abuse in the United States. The following is taken from an Editorial published by the Sun Journal on January 9, 2011:
Maine leads the U.S. in the percentage of residents seeking treatment for addiction to painkillers, according to the latest report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
And the difference between Maine and the rest of the country is shocking
In 2008, 386 of every 100,000 Maine residents 12 or older were admitted for treatment of painkiller addiction, according to the report.
If correct, that means more that 4,600 Mainers received treatment for prescription painkiller addiction, about a 14-fold increase from 1998. In that year, only 28 Mainers per 100,000 sought such treatment
This recent study has everyone from Maine lawmakers to local Police Departments, brainstorming ways to help combat prescription drug abuse in the State. There are many different ways people obtain prescription drugs to abuse; sometimes a doctor prescribes them to a patient when there really is no more need, they are prescribed and never all finished, and people steal them from others.
On September 25, 2010, the North Berwick Police Department, along with numerous local, state, and federal agencies, participated in Drug Take Back Day 2010; the collaborative effort in Maine collected nearly 8,000 pounds of unused prescription drugs. The collection station at the North Berwick Police Department collected enough drugs to fill a 10-gallon trash bag..
Due to the overwhelming success of this one-day effort; the North Berwick Police Department will now be collecting any unused medication, prescription and/or over the counter drugs on a daily basis. If you or someone you know has unused medication that you no longer want or need, you can bring them to the North Berwick Police Department Monday through Friday between the hours of 7am and 3pm. If for some reason you are unable to make it to the police department, you can call (207) 676-2751 and an Officer may stop by and pick them up for you. These drugs will be collected and turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration (D.E.A) and disposed of in a safe manner.
The North Berwick Police Department doesn’t feel as though this gesture alone will stop prescription drug abuse, but we believe it will be a productive step in the right direction.
Dover Robbery Suspect Turns Herself In, Pleads 'Not Guilty'
By Kyle Stucker
Monday, January 3, 2011
North Berwick Police: Women Bound Homeowner, Stole Money and Marijuana
NORTH BERWICK, Maine — Police are looking for multiple women who are allegedly responsible for breaking into a local man's home and marijuana-growing operation in October, threatening him with firearms and binding him with duct tape before making off with an undisclosed amount of cash and about a pound of marijuana.
Lt. Jim Moulton said four women are believed to be responsible for the incident, which occurred at a Company Woods Road home between 2:30 and 3 a.m. on Oct. 7, although only one arrest had been made as of Thursday.
Moulton said his department isn't releasing any of the suspects' names, ages or hometowns because the investigation is still open, although he said a warrant has been issued for one of the other suspects and his department is actively working to identify the other individuals.
All of the suspects are believed to be out-of-state residents, according to Moulton.
Police were first notified of the theft at 3:42 a.m. on Oct. 7 after the victim was able to free himself from his restraints. Moulton said the man reported someone knocked on his door between 2:30 and 3 a.m., although the man didn't answer the door and four armed suspects allegedly "burst into the house" after seeing him through a window, according to Moulton.
Moulton said Thursday it isn't clear if all of the individuals were armed, although he said at least one allegedly had a handgun while another had a rifle.
Upon entering the house, the suspects then allegedly secured the homeowner at gunpoint, went through the house and "took what they wanted" before securing the man so he couldn't immediately call police, said Moulton.
Moulton said an undisclosed amount of cash and "just under a pound of marijuana" were reported stolen.
During the investigation, Moulton said the victim was able to identify one of the individuals allegedly responsible because the victim claimed he knew the woman. Moulton said that individual isn't the woman who was taken into custody.
The one suspect police have apprehended was brought in on Oct. 29 by an undisclosed police department in New Hampshire on a fugitive from justice charge stemming from North Berwick's robbery warrant, according to Moulton.
Moulton said the woman was originally transported to the Strafford County House of Corrections, and later to the York County House of Corrections. He said the suspect was still being held on undisclosed bail in York County as of Tuesday.
Police said they have no reason to believe the Oct. 7 incident is connected to any other recent events in the area.
Moulton said the Company Woods Road resident's alleged marijuana-growing operation is still under investigation, although there were no charges filed as of Thursday. Moulton said the alleged operation is a "small grow," although he declined to release further information about the operation.
Moulton asked anyone with information related to the home invasion to contact him at the North Berwick police station at 207-676-2751, extension 248.
North Berwick Teens Charged After Selling Drugs to Undercover Officer
NORTH BERWICK, Maine — Two local 18 year olds were recently charged with felony-level aggravated trafficking of Schedule Z drugs after they attempted to sell marijuana to an undercover police officer.
Andre Ouellette, of 50 Elm St., and Cole Corbin, of Turkey Street, were also charged on Nov. 2 at about 10 p.m. with violation of conditional release.
Police said the arrests came after a two-week investigation that began after the Noble High School Resource Officer obtained information about Ouellette selling marijuana to high school students.
During the investigation, North Berwick Police Chief Peasley said an officer requested Ouellette and Corbin as a friend on Facebook as part of a sting operation. He said both men accepted the undercover officer as a friend and within a short time made an offer to sell drugs to the officer.
Peasley said the officer accepted the offer and the parties agreed upon a time and location on Nov. 2 for the drug deal, and Ouellette and Corbin later arrived with the marijuana at the location. Police arrested the men at the scene, and a search of Ouellette's residence produced contraband such as a digital scale, hypodermic needle, bongs and other pieces of drug paraphernalia.
Peasley said both men were charged with aggravated trafficking of Schedule Z drugs because the deal occurred within 1,000 feet of an elementary school. The charge was elevated to a felony because of that proximity, he said.
Ouellette and Corbin were also charged with violation of conditional release because of prior arrests from other police agencies, according to Peasley.
Ouellette and Corbin were transported to the York County House of Corrections in Alfred, and both men were released from York District Court on $5,000 unsecured cash bail.
The men are scheduled for arraignment in Springvale District Court on Dec. 28.
Couple Tried to Steal and Sell Vehicles From Salvage Yard
By Kyle Stucker
Monday, November 8, 2010
NORTH BERWICK, Maine — A Milton, N.H., couple was recently arrested on multiple felony charges after allegedly stealing three vehicles from a salvage yard on Route 9 and selling them to Berwick Iron and Metal Recycling for about $3,800.
Edward Ford, 49, and Georgia Ford, 48, both of 18 Kingsbury Drive in Milton, N.H., were each charged on Oct. 27 with three counts of theft by receiving stolen property, a Class C felony.
North Berwick Police Lt. James Moulton said the department received at a call at about 1:15 p.m. on Oct. 27 about two individuals dragging vehicles off a Route 9 salvage yard owned by Wick's Service using a silver Dodge pickup truck.
Moulton said witnesses reported the activity after seeing sparks flying off the vehicles caused by dragging them on the pavement.
Police were able to catch up with the individuals towing the vehicles off the property at about 1:45 p.m. as they were bringing the third of the three scrap vehicles to Berwick Iron and Metal. Moulton said police were able to track them to Berwick because the act of dragging the vehicles "left sparks and marks everywhere" along the five- to six-mile stretch of Route 9 from the salvage yard to the Berwick metal recycling business.
Police said the Fords were identified at Berwick Iron and Metal as the individuals attempting to sell the three vehicles - a maroon 1991 Ford Aerostar, a 1998 maroon Chevrolet extended cab pickup truck, and a 1973 blue Chevrolet Van. Moulton said Edward and Georgia Ford were both taken into custody shortly before 2 p.m.
Moulton called the theft "pretty gutsy" because of the nature of the crime, the time of day, and the total amount the vehicles were worth. He said there have been other thefts from the salvage yard, including one a couple of weeks ago, although "nothing of this magnitude."
Moulton said the Fords allegedly cut the half-inch cable securing the salvage yard and used a tow dolly to get each vehicle onto the silver Dodge pickup, which was registered to Georgia Ford. He said the couple then dragged each vehicle one at a time down to Berwick Iron and Metal in broad daylight along a "remote" but "heavily-traveled" strip of Route 9.
The tow dolly's vehicle identification number sticker was either removed or "scrapped off," according to Moulton. He said the dolly isn't registered, and additional charges, such as criminal simulation, could be forthcoming because additional investigation may reveal the dolly is stolen.
He said other charges could be also forthcoming if the district attorney deems them necessary.
The Fords' Dodge pickup and the tow dolly were towed to the salvage yard owned by Wick's Service so police could secure and inventory the vehicles, said Moulton.
Edward and Georgia Ford were each released on $500 cash bail on Oct. 28. Both individuals are scheduled for arraignment on the felonies in York Superior Court on Nov. 24.
Dover Man Charged With Possession of Crack, Other Drugs
By Kyle Stucker
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
NORTH BERWICK, Maine — A Dover man was charged with two felonies Sunday after officers found crack cocaine, oxycodone, marijuana, a digital scale and baggies in his vehicle during a traffic stop at 11:11 p.m. on Route 4.
John L. Fulton, 47, was charged with unlawful trafficking for a scheduled drug (a Class B felony), unlawful possession of a scheduled drug (a Class C felony), civil possession of marijuana, and civil possession of drug paraphernalia.
Police said Fulton was transported to the York County House of Corrections and held on $10,000 cash bail until his arraignment Monday in York Superior Court. The judge lowered Fulton's bail to $260 cash during his arraignment, and he was then transported back to YCHOC, according to an officer at the jail.
Patrolman Tim Niehoff said he pulled Fulton over around 11:11 p.m. Sunday because he suspected the man was driving drunk after watching Fulton allegedly cross the center yellow line multiple times near the Mary R. Hurd Elementary School.
Niehoff conducted a field sobriety test, although he said there "were no clues" Fulton was intoxicated. He said there was a strong marijuana odor, however, and he and Patrolman Daniel Pelkey, the department's drug recognition expert, discovered the drugs upon searching the vehicle.
Niehoff said he and Pelkey found about 25 1/2 grams of marijuana, the scale and a box of baggies in a bag underneath Fulton's driver seat. The officers also discovered about two grams of crack cocaine concealed in the center console, as well as two oxycodone pills, for which Fulton didn't have a prescription.
Niehoff said the digital scale tested positive for cocaine residue. He said it is unknown as of Monday whether or not Fulton is a known dealer in the area or if the incident is related to any other investigations.
No one else was in the car with Fulton, he said.
Fulton hadn't posted bail as of Monday afternoon. He is scheduled for a probable cause hearing in York Superior Court on Dec. 10.
Berwick Woman Charged With Burglary in North Berwick
By Kyle Stucker
Thursday, July 22, 2010
NORTH BERWICK, Maine — A Berwick woman was recently charged with two felonies after she allegedly walked into a Oak Woods Road home and stole a bottle of anxiety medication.
Susanne Buttiglieri, 40, of 9 Hanson Road in Berwick, was charged on July 10 with a count of felony burglary (a Class B felony), one count of felony theft (a Class C felony), and a count of stealing drugs (a Class D misdemeanor).
Police Chief Stephen Peasley said Buttiglieri entered an unlocked home on Oak Woods Road at about 10:30 a.m. on July 6. An individual visiting the homeowners was sleeping at the time, and was woken by stirring sounds made by the woman.
Peasley said Buttiglieri told the man "I know your wife" before leaving the home. It was later discovered the only thing missing was a bottle of 20 pills of Lorazepam, said Peasley.
Police identified Buttiglieri as a possible suspect in the case after putting out an alert to other law enforcement agencies.
Peasley said the case was sounded similar to three closed Berwick cases. Buttiglieri had already been charged in those cases, and North Berwick police placed a picture of the woman in a photo lineup for the Oak Woods Road witness as well as a witness in a case from mid June involving a home on Maple Street.
Peasley said both witnesses positively identified Buttiglieri as the woman who broke into the houses, and a warrant was obtained for her arrest on July 9. Buttiglieri was transported to York County Jail and was arraigned the charges in Alfred Superior Court on July 12.
It was unclear Wednesday when Buttiglieri was released on her $500 cash bail, as the jail's computer system was down, said an officer at the facility.
Buttiglieri also faces another Class B felony charge of burglary for the Maple Street case because she stole a laptop, said Peasley. There is no scheduled arraignment for that charge, and the charge isn't listed on the court's paperwork, said an employee at Alfred Superior Court on Wednesday.
Peasley said Buttiglieri targeted houses with no cars in front of them. He said she looked for unlocked homes and took small items before fleeing the scene. He said she didn't force her way into any of the North Berwick or Berwick homes.
Peasley said he has no reason to believe there are other burglaries in the area to which Buttiglieri is connected, but hasn't ruled out the possibility.
"I suppose it's possible there are others, but there's none that have been reported to us," he said Tuesday.
Buttiglieri is scheduled for a status conference hearing on Nov. 12 at Alfred Superior Court. An employee at the court said Wednesday she hasn't yet been indicted on the charges, although the employee said that could still happen any time before the hearing.
By Kyle Stucker
Thursday, April 29, 2010
NORTH BERWICK, Maine — Police recently arrested a Somersworth man that broke into a residence above Red Leaves Restaurant and stole $3,000 of personal property.
Michael Colby, 30, of 260 Main St., was arrested after a joint investigation by Somersworth and North Berwick police. North Berwick Police Chief Stephen Peasley said Colby faces a charge of burglary and a charge of felony theft for the break in, which police said occurred on April 16.
Peasley said Colby forced his way into the residence above Red Leaves, which belongs to the restaurant's owners. He said Colby took a 42-inch flat screen television, multiple video game systems and accessories and a cell phone down a flight of exterior stairs connected to the building. The owners didn't notice Colby stealing their belongings because "it was a busy night" for the restaurant, said Peasley.
"He then actually went into the restaurant and asked to call for a ride," said Peasley, adding that Colby most likely stashed the stolen belongings behind the building before entering the restaurant. "That's kind of rubbing salt in the wound, really."
North Berwick and Somersworth police were then able to track Colby to his apartment in Somersworth, where all the stolen property was recovered, said Peasley. Colby was arrested at about 10:50 p.m. on April 16 by Somersworth police. In addition to the burglary and felony theft charges from North Berwick, Colby faces two counts of receiving stolen property, criminal mischief, resisting arrest, and possession of burglary tools stemming from the Somersworth arrest.
Colby was also charged with breach of bail conditions by Somersworth police, as he broke into Red Leaves last month as well. He was arrested and released on bail after he broke into the restaurant on March 21, allegedly stealing $800 from the cash register and $100 from a jar belonging to the 8-year-old son of the owners.
"He kind of singled out this Chinese restaurant for some reason," said Peasley.
Peasley said Colby also broke into Town Pizza on March 21, allegedly stealing $300 from their cash register. Colby was charged with two counts of burglary and two counts of misdemeanor theft for the March 21 incidents, although Peasley said Colby hasn't been convicted on the charges.
Peasley said it's possible Colby might have broken into the restaurants looking for cash to pay for drugs because his girlfriend, Raschelle McAuliffe, 21, of 10 Canal St., was arrested earlier in the day on April 16 for possession of illegal drugs and for violating terms of her release. Peasley said McAuliffe was connected to the March 21 burglaries, but has no connection to the April 16 incident.
Colby was arraigned on the Somersworth charges at Dover District Court on April 19, and was released on $5,000 personal recognizance bail with supervision on April 21. A probable cause hearing is scheduled in Dover District Court on May 4 at 10 a.m. Colby faces arraignment on the Maine burglary and felony theft charges at Alfred Superior Court on May 13.
Peasley said police have no reason to believe Colby has any connection to residential burglaries in North Berwick or the surrounding area. The driver of the vehicle that picked up Colby on April 16 faces no charges, and police haven't released the driver's name.
Armed standoff in North Berwick Ends Peacefully
By Jason Claffey
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
North Berwick Police and the Portland Sea Dogs Team Up For D.A.R.E Graduation
In May 2009, the North Berwick Police Department teamed up with the Portland Sea Dogs to present 5th Graders at the Noble Middle School with their Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E) Diplomas. The students completed a 10-week, highly acclaimed program gives kids the skills they need to avoid involvement with drugs, gangs, and violence. Ryan Khoury and Aaron Bates from the Portland Sea Dogs (AA Affiliate of the Boston Red Sox) joined Chief Stephen Peasley and fellow officers for the graduation. After the ceremony the graduates were able to talk with Khoury and Bates about their lives and baseball. Both players stuck around and signed autographs for all the kids.
By Jason Claffey
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
NORTH BERWICK, Maine — A Sanford man who police say had two pounds of marijuana stuffed in a duffel bag in the back of his sport utility vehicle was charged with felony-level drug trafficking during a routine traffic stop over the weekend.
William Larose, 39, was charged with aggravated trafficking of scheduled drugs — a Class B felony — as well as operating under suspension and failing to give a correct name and address, both misdemeanors. Larose had a previous conviction for drug trafficking out of Maine in 1997, according to North Berwick Police Chief Stephen Peasley.
Larose was driving on Valley Road in a Chevrolet Suburban at about 7:30 p.m. Saturday night when he was pulled over by Officer Tim Niehoff for allegedly driving 52 mph in a 40 mph zone, Peasley said.
Larose gave the officer a false name and date of birth, and was later found to be operating with a suspended license for failing to pay fines for traffic violations, Peasley said. Larose had 35 convictions for traffic offenses on his driving record, Peasley added.
During a search of the vehicle, Niehoff found the marijuana sealed in plastic bags inside the duffel bag. Larose did not say if he planned on selling the drugs in the area, Peasley said.
Peasley estimated the amount of marijuana to be two pounds, though the exact weight will be determined by the state's crime lab.
Larose was released on bail and given a court date of March 2 in Alfred Superior Court.