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April 4, 2012

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Internet Safety Night at Orono High School

ORONO The Orono Police Department and Orono High School, in conjunction with the Husson University Criminal Justice Program, will be offering a program to all interested parents, caregivers and community members on keeping kids safe online.

This presentation is aimed at helping parents and caregivers become more aware of the potential online risks and empower them to make safe and smart choices. Most importantly, it will encourage educated communication between adults and their children regarding the Internet.

For more information, contact Orono Police Department at 866-4000 or Orono High School at 866-4916.

Maine Forest Service: Pleasant Point man sentenced for starting Downeast wildfires

AUGUSTA - A Pleasant Point man has been sentenced for his role in a rash of wildfires that occurred last summer in Washington County.

Timothy Tiess, 37, entered into a plea agreement in Washington County Superior Court in Machias earlier this week and was sentenced to serve 18 months in jail. According to Maine Forest Service forest rangers, Tiess was accused of starting fires in Marion Township, Edmunds Township, Day Block Township, Wesley, Pembroke and Perry in July 2011. A total of less than 10 acres was burned.

Tiess originally was charged with five counts of arson and one count of aggravated criminal mischief for starting a series of wildfires in Downeast Maine. Tiess became the subject of an intensive investigation that involved undercover surveillance and a multi-agency task force led by Maine Forest Service (MFS) forest rangers.

Tiess, who served as a volunteer firefighter with the Pleasant Point Fire Department, pleaded guilty to the single felony count of aggravated criminal mischief (Class C), while the five counts of arson were dismissed in the plea agreement. He was sentenced to nine months in the Washington County jail and received a consecutive sentence of an additional nine months on a probation revocation for a previous charge in Kennebec County.

The defendant currently is in custody at the Washington County Jail and began serving his sentence on Tuesday.

According to Ranger Sgt. Courtney Hammond of the Maine Forest Service's Jonesboro office, Tiess became a subject of investigation last summer after witnesses described a vehicle similar to one owned by Tiess racing away from several of the fire scenes. Tiess also became the primary suspect early in the investigation due to his three prior convictions for other fire-related incidents from the 1990s, which involved structures in southern Maine.

Forest rangers conducted a search warrant in August at Tiess's Pleasant Point residence and seized evidence, including a vehicle, which supported the charges against him, Hammond said.

The MFS forest rangers were assisted by the Maine Fire Marshal's Office, the Maine State Police, Washington County Sheriff's Office, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge and the Pleasant Point Police Department. Hammond coordinated the investigation, which also involved eight MFS forest rangers and forest ranger pilots.

'The fire starts were in a large geographic area and were set sporadically over the period,' Hammond said. 'Quick response by Maine Forest Service forest rangers and volunteer firefighters kept the fires from growing into dangerous incidents.'

'I am satisfied that the hard work of our forest rangers has resulted in this conviction,' said Bill Hamilton, MFS chief forest ranger, 'and we feel that the residents of Downeast Maine can take comfort in that fact.' He added that the MFS forest rangers were very pleased that they received tips from the public and assistance from other law enforcement agencies.

Citizens can provide confidential information on suspicious wildfires by calling Wildfire Arson Hotline at 1-800-987-0257.

Alarm scares off burglar

ORLAND A burglar alarm spooked would-be thieves.

On March 23, Trooper Greg Mitchell responded to a burglary alarm at a seasonal residence in Orland. The investigation revealed that the suspect(s) forced open the front door to the residence. The alarm system activated and the suspect(s) fled the scene without entering.

Oh, gross

TRENTON Someone destroyed another person's mail by throwing tobacco spit all over it. Maine State Police are investigating the disgusting crime.

Anyone with information should call 866-2121 and ask for Tpr. Greg Mitchell.


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