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June 5, 2013

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Police call attempted kidnapping bizarre'

BOWDINHAM Maine State Police say a New Hampshire man remains behind bars following a bizarre incident last week in Bowdoinham in which he allegedly tried to kidnap a two-year-old boy from his grandmother at a commuter lot along Interstate 295.

James Graham, 30, a former Maine resident who currently lives in Newmarket, N.H., is being held in lieu of bail at the Two Bridges Jail in Wiscasset on charges of attempted kidnapping and assault. Police say Graham was taken into custody on May 22 along the Interstate south of Brunswick after police were called by the victim's mother and grandmother who reported the incident.

The two women encountered Graham at the park and ride lot about 8 p.m. where the two women meet daily to exchange the boy with each other. Graham reportedly attempted to grab the boy but was fended off by the grandmother, who sought refuge in a vehicle. Graham then drove off, but caught up with the women a second time when he began following them south along the Interstate.

Troopers found a loaded handgun in his vehicle, along with cable ties, knives and a parachute cord. Graham grew up in the Waterville area and is believed to be a Waterville High School graduate. He also served several years in the Air Force.

How motion sensor burglar alarms work

BANGOR  An area man was arrested after reportedly sneaking into a local business before it closed and later setting off its alarm before fleeing.

On May 30, police responded to Hero's on Washington Street after the alarm sounded around 12:15 a.m. Finding no one inside, officers Josh Kuhn and Tim Wheelden reviewed surveillance footage where they saw a man walk into the business by the back door shortly before it closed and then hid. After the business closed, the man emerged and triggered the alarm, causing him to flee.

Police located Russell Johnsen, 47, no fixed address, walking on the railroad tracks behind the businesses. After interviewing him they determined he was the suspect and placed him under arrest. 

He was transported to Penobscot County Jail and charged with class C burglary.

Going to jail for candy and beer

BANGOR  An area man was arrested and charged with burglary last week after breaking into a local convenience store. His loot? Candy and beer.

On May 29, an alarm was triggered at the Tom T's store on Broadway, summoning police. Officer Jamie Fanning found the door smashed in, but no one was at the scene. 

After reviewing surveillance tapes, the officer saw a man stealing candy and beer. Fanning reportedly recognized the man as David Bileau, 48, no fixed address, due to prior dealings with him. She was able to subsequently locate him and placed him under arrest. 

He was transported to Penobscot County Jail and charged with felony burglary and misdemeanor theft and criminal mischief

Maine's AG Mills warns of imposter Life Alert' scam targeting elders

AUGUSTA - Maine Attorney General Janet T. Mills is warning Maine elders to be wary of a phone scam in which the callers lead you to believe they are eligible for a free life alert or medical alert device product and then ask for sensitive, personal financial information. Life Alert is well-known for their tag line of 'Help, I've fallen and I can't get up.'

'Seniors should always be wary of anyone calling them to tell them that they are eligible for free products in exchange for their personal information,' said Mills. 'Legitimate companies do not operate like this. This scam is particularly insidious because it trades on the well-known brand of Life Alert, which is intended for very vulnerable senior citizens.'

The company that produces the real Life Alert product has filed a lawsuit against those who have been impersonating Life Alert through scam phone calls and lying and manipulating seniors into providing personal and financial information. The named defendants include LifeWatch Inc. and Connect America.com, LLC (aka Medical Alert), two companies that purport to be legitimate providers of personal emergency response systems.

Mills said the Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General's Office has received numerous complaints from Maine seniors about the Life Alert product scam. If any Maine Seniors believe they have been a target of this scam, they should call the Consumer Protection Division: 1-800-436-2131 or email  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Below is a statement issued by the Life Alert company with more details on this scam:

Life Alert is fighting imposters who are using robo-calls and Life Alert's trademarks to scam the elderly.

Life Alert filed a lawsuit against LifeWatch Inc. and ConnectAmerica.com LLC (aka Medical Alert) for impersonating Life Alert through scam phone calls to the elderly, then lying and manipulating them into providing personal and financial information.

Crime stats in Maine

AUGUSTA  Crime in Maine decreased 1.5 percent during 2012, according to the Maine Department of Public Safety. Public Safety Commissioner John E. Morris said every crime category went down last year, except robberies and domestic violence.

Morris said the increase in robberies is solely attributable to last year's 56 pharmacy robberies a state record. Without the pharmacy robberies, Morris said the robbery category would have shown a decrease.

There were a total of 421 robberies in 2012 compared to 370 the year before, for a total increase of 13.8-percent. Robberies decreased in 2011 by 11.1 percent, but showed increases in 2010 and 2009.

'Drugs remain a key reason for much of the crime in Maine as addicts commit these robberies to feed their habits. Prescription drug abuse is responsible for much of the state's drug problem,' Morris said.

He added the only other crime number to go up in 2012 was domestic violence, which he termed 'disappointing.' Domestic violence assaults showed an increase of 4.5 percent in 2012, in which 5,593 were reported versus 5,353 in 2011. This mirrored the 4.6 percent increase that took place in 2011.

"It's my hope that the increase in domestic assaults is because victims are more likely to report the crime because of greater response by law enforcement and the assistance available from many support groups around Maine to help victims,' Morris said.

The Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence phone number is 866-834-HELP or www.mcedv.org, and the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault's phone number is 800-871-7741 or www.mecasa.org. Both organizations have complete listings of local groups that offer assistance.

There were 368 rape cases reported to law enforcement in 2012, which were 23 fewer ( 5.9 percent) than were reported in 2011. Burglaries decreased in 2012 by 5.1 percent (7,429 reported in 2012 compared to 7,826 in 2011). Burglaries rose 6.6 percent in 2011.

Larceny/thefts were virtually unchanged with 14 fewer cases reported in 2012, which dropped 0.1 percent. In 2012, 24,812 reported versus 24,826 the year prior. Larcenies/thefts rose 1.4 percent in 2011.

Both aggravated assaults and simple assaults decreased in 2012. Aggravated assaults, which involve serious injury and usually involves a weapon, showed a decrease of 4.7 percent for 2012 (803 reported for 2012 vs. 843 in 2011). Simple assaults also showed a slight decrease of 0.2 percent for 2012 (11,796 reported for 2012 vs. 11,814 in 2011).

Arson decreased 13.1 percent during 2012, with 34 fewer incidents reported (226 were reported for 2012 vs. 260 cases in 2011). The value of property damaged by arson fires decreased, with $3,980,230 in damaged property reported in 2012 compared to $6,010,974 in 2011.

Motor vehicle thefts dropped 7.8 percent, with 990 stolen vehicles reported in 2012 versus 1,074 vehicles stolen in 2011.

There were 26 homicides in 2012 compared to 28 homicides in 2011.

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