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Criminal Mischief (02/13/2019)

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Arrests in safe theft

PORTLAND (AP) — Two Maine men are charged with stealing a safe containing more than $10,000 in cash and checks from a Spectrum office in Portland.

Police say 33-year-old Michael Luchini, of Ellsworth, and 39-year-old Matthew Smart, of Southwest Harbor, each face one count of burglary and theft.

The Portland Press Herald reports that the incident happened at the end of December.

Police believe the men pried open several doors and wheeled the safe outside before cutting a hole to access the contents. The men toiled to open the safe and blood splatters were found at the scene.

There is no court date in Cumberland County set for the men, who are both being held at the Hancock County Jail on unrelated charges. It’s unclear if they’ve retained attorneys.

False flyer circulating

PORTLAND (AP) — The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention is warning residents of the state to ignore a flyer being circulated that contains incorrect information about vaccinations.

Maine CDC says the flyer claims to include a list of “known vaccine side effects” despite not providing any credible sources. They flyer includes the URL “CDC.org,” but that is not an active website. The URL for the website of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is www.cdc.gov.

The flyers have been circulating around big box stores in the southern part of Maine. Maine CDC director Bruce Bates says the flyer isn’t endorsed by the CDC and everyone should “disregard it.”

Some of the specious “side effects” on the flyer are conditions vaccines are known to prevent, such as meningitis.

Runaway bigamist in custody

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A Maine man who is accused of being married to three different women in three different states is behind bars in Ohio.

A warrant was issued when 43-year-old Michael Middleton missed a court appearance Thursday in New Hampshire. A day later, he was arrested in Ohio. The Franklin County Sheriff’s Department tweeted that the “Cupid of Chaos” was awaiting extradition.

Charges were brought in New Hampshire because Middleton married a woman there while also being married to women in Alabama and Georgia.

The New Hampshire wife said Middleton made her feel like he cared about her but eventually scammed her out of $20,000. Investigators say there could be more wives.

Middleton was held Monday evening in the Franklin County Corrections Center. It was not known if he had attorney.

Former Black Bear arraigned for assault

NEW YORK (AP) — Detroit Lions linebacker Trevor Bates was arraigned Tuesday from a psychiatric ward on charges accusing him of punching a New York City police officer after he was taken to a precinct house for failing to pay a taxi fare.

Bates, 25, pleaded not guilty to charges of assault, resisting arrest, theft of services and obstruction of governmental administration.

Bates has been hospitalized since his Jan. 26 arrest and was arraigned via a video hookup.

Bates’ lawyer, Eric Breslin, said they were looking forward to “resolving this manner in an expeditious and satisfactory fashion.”

Bates was arrested around 1:30 a.m. Jan. 26 at a hotel near LaGuardia Airport after allegedly refusing to pay a $32 cab fare for a ride from Manhattan.

Police have said they were ready to let Bates go with an appearance ticket if he didn’t have any outstanding warrants, but that Bates refused to be fingerprinted and punched a sergeant in the face.

Sgt. James O’Brien, who was hit as he tried to calm Bates down, suffered a concussion and needed three stitches over his left eye, police said.

The 6-foot-2, 240-pound Bates was subdued with a stun gun and taken to a hospital.

Bates’ agent said last week that his alleged actions “are in no way a reflection of who he is as a person” and “not at all consistent with the man and friend we know him to be.”

“At this time our priority is to ensure that Trevor receives the help he needs and that the privacy of the parties involved be respected,” agent Jeff Jankovich said in a Jan. 28 statement.

Bates, who’s from Westbrook, Maine, and played college football at the University of Maine, joined the Lions last year and appeared in nine games.

He was drafted in 2016 by the Indianapolis Colts and was on the practice squads of the New England Patriots and New York Giants.

Lions general manager Bob Quinn has said that the team is aware of Bates’ arrest but had no further comment.

Judge Karina Alomar set Bates’ bail at $5,000 cash or $10,000 bond. His next hearing is scheduled for March 8.

Bates faces up to seven years in prison if convicted.

Dixmont burglary foiled

DIXMONT – A burglary suspect is in custody after a break-in in Dixmont led to a brief pursuit that ended on foot after the escape vehicle crashed.

Just before midnight on Feb. 6, at approximately 11:50 p.m., State Troopers assigned to the Troop E Barracks responded to a break-in in progress at a business on Moosehead Trail in Dixmont.

Troopers discovered the suspect had forcibly gained entry to the business and numerous items stolen. In canvassing the area, troopers located footprints on the roadway approximately one mile away and were able to track a suspect, later identified as Cristhian Zuniga Meza through the woods and take him into custody.

Zuniga Meza had fled the scene and crashed the vehicle he was driving in a wooded area along Moosehead Trail. Troopers were able to recover all the stolen property from the burglary.

Zuniga Meza was taken to the Penobscot County Jail in Bangor and charged with burglary, theft, criminal mischief, operating under the influence and operating after suspension.

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