Machias: Handgun theft leads to 4 arrests

Posted Aug. 05, 2008, at 12 a.m.

MACHIAS, Maine&nbsp- Four people were arrested over the weekend in connection with a break-in last month in which the front door at the Four Corners Rod and Gun Shop on Route 1 in Columbia was smashed and 12 handguns were stolen.

Aaron P. Flood, 18, of Calais, Jeffery S. Croman, 20, of Baileyville, Chad E. Robinson, 23, and Joshua H. Robinson, 20, both of Charlotte have been charged with burglary and theft of firearms. Flood also was charged with aggravated criminal mischief.

Bail for the four men was set at $10,000 each, a press release from the Washington County Sheriff’ s Department said.

The case also is being referred to the federal prosecutor’ s office for possible firearms charges.

Washington County Sheriff Donnie Smith said Monday that the four men remain in the Washington County Jail.

During the early morning hours of July 28, the alarm at the gun shop on what is known locally as the Four Corners went off, and Sgt. Travis Willey of the Washington County Sheriff’ s Department was at the gun shop within six minutes. Twelve handguns were missing from a display case that had been broken open.

Police also found that two soda machines at the nearby Columbia Supermarket and Gasoline Station and an oil storage display rack that was locked had been broken into.

“Through cooperation from local business owners’ footage, a suspect vehicle was identified via video surveillance,” the press release said.

A photograph of the vehicle was forwarded to all local law enforcement agencies.

Calais police Officer Dave Claroni recognized the vehicle in the picture as one he had seen in his patrol area.

On Thursday, July 31, Washington County Sheriff’ s Deputy Tom Chambers impounded Flood’ s vehicle.

Two days later, the Sheriff’ s Department and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, armed with a search warrant, searched the vehicle.

On Saturday, officers from the Sheriff’ s Department, ATF, Maine State Police, Calais and Baileyville Police departments, and U.S. Border Patrol arrested the four men in the Calais area.

Two of the 12 guns were recovered.

Smith said police continue to investigate the whereabouts of the remaining guns.

“They have changed hands a couple of times,” he said.

The sheriff said it was important that the handguns be recovered and said that for now the guns may be turned in to police with no questions asked.

“However,” he said, “as the investigation continues, those found with the handguns will be charged.”

It appears the theft was drug-related. “The initial investigation has shown us that they sold the handguns to get drugs,” Smith said.

Smith credited the efforts of Washington County Sheriff’ s Sgt. Travis Willey, the lead investigator, as well as the officers who assisted with the investigation.

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