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Criminal Mischief (03/15/2017)

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Credit card fraud ring broken up

PORTLAND - The Falmouth Police Department has been conducting a four- month investigation into dozens of resident’s credit card and debit card information being stolen. This investigation has led to the arrest of three Florida residents.

The suspects obtained credit/debit card information from victims across the State of Maine and fraudulently manufactured credit/debit cards that were then used at retail stores from southern to central Maine. This widespread fraudulent activity resulted in a financial loss of tens of thousands of dollars.

The investigation disclosed various cells consisting of three to four people operating from the State of Florida would travel to Maine for three to four days in order to conduct this criminal activity, resulting in hundreds of victims throughout the state.

The Falmouth Police Department arrested the following suspects on March 11; two were arrested at the Portland International Airport and one in Portland:

They are 25-year-old Adrian Teruel of Orlando; 50-year-old Olga Valido of Kissimmee; and 45-year-old Alejandro Caal of Tampa.

All three are charged with the following crimes: felony Theft by Deception (Class B); felony Forgery (Class B); felony Organized Retail Theft (Class B); and misdemeanor Misuse of Identification (Class D).

All three are currently being held at the Cumberland County Jail at $50,000 cash bail each.

Wrong-way highway crash

PITTSFIELD – A motorist driving the wrong way on Interstate 95 caused a head-on collision with another vehicle, leaving both drivers in critical condition.

On the evening of March 12, the Maine State Police received a report of a white truck operating southbound in the northbound lane on Interstate 95 near mile marker 150. The Maine State Police, Pittsfield Police Department and the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office responded to the area to locate and divert the wrong-way driver. Prior to any police units locating the white truck, a two-vehicle collision was reported.

The accident occurred at just before 7 p.m. Somerset County Deputy Joe Jackson and Pittsfield Police Officer Mike Coty arrived on scene first and rendered aid to the operators of the vehicles. Several bystanders also stopped to assist.

The operator of the white truck was identified as 70-year-old Hugh Brawn of Clinton. Brawn was operating the wrong way on Interstate 95 when he struck a vehicle being operated north by 19-year-old Tristan Kaldenberg of Littleton, MA.

Kaldenberg was taken by Lifeflight to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor with life-threatening injuries. Brawn was transported by Delta Ambulance to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor with life-threatening injuries.

Troopers suspect the driver of the truck going the wrong way was intoxicated and disoriented. They say there was little Kaldenberg could do to avoid the collision with Brawn's pickup as the crash took place at the top of a slight rise on the northbound side and Kaldenberg had only seconds to react. He is a student at Husson University and was returning to Bangor when the crash took place. 

No charges have been lodged as of press time; officials continue to monitor the conditions of both men and attempt to determine why Brawn was in the wrong lane.

Teens arrested in Patten burglaries

PATTEN – Two teenagers have been arrested in connection with a series of burglaries in the Patten region, according to the Maine State Police.

During the week of February 26th through March 4th, Troop F of the Maine State Police began investigating five separate incidents of burglary and criminal mischief in the town of Patten.

Through the course of the investigations, multiple suspects have been identified. As of March 12, two individuals have been arrested; they are 18-year-old Ryan Gardner of Hersey and a 16-year-old juvenile from Patten. Both are facing felony charges of burglary and theft to include firearms; one firearm has been recovered with one other firearm still missing.

Other people of interest have been interviewed and subsequently ruled out, but provided knowledge of the crimes and people involved. Additional suspects have been identified and the investigation is ongoing. Evidence collected at the scenes is still being processed.

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Maine State Police in Houlton at 532-5400.

Meth arrest in Sanford

SANFORD - Maine Drug Enforcement and Sanford Police have arrested a teenager and his uncle and charged them with operating a methamphetamine lab in an apartment at 29 Charles Street, according to an MDEA release. 

Arrested were 18-year-old Tanner Winship and his uncle, 40-year-old Herbert Winship, both from Sanford. The teenager was charged March 6 and the uncle was charged the next day. 

The meth was discovered when Sanford Police responded to the home on the evening of March 5 after getting a report of a noxious order coming from Apartment B. The MDEA’s meth lab team responded and found evidence of meth-making inside, as well as a mason jar containing the addictive drug. The team cleared the home by early the next morning.

A few hours later, Sanford Police were called to an adjacent property on Grove Street for a suspicious duffle bag in the yard. Discovered inside the bag were the ingredients to make meth, and a plastic bottle where meth was being cooked. Drug agents are now investigating whether the two men were also responsible for the duffle bag.  

The two men are at the York County Jail, being held in lieu of $15,000 bail. The older man was arrested by State Police on March 6 at a home in Lyman on unrelated charges for probation violation, with the meth charge added later.  

These are the eighth and ninth meth lab responses from MDEA this year. Last year there were 125.

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