Suspect surrenders in soldier theft case

Posted Dec. 02, 2008, at 7:11 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 13, 2011, at 11:05 a.m.

GREENVILLE, Maine — A third person believed responsible for the theft of $14,000 from a soldier’s checking account turned herself in Tuesday to police.

Ashley Gamblin, 19, who was wanted on a warrant for forgery, surrendered Tuesday afternoon to the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Department. She is accused of cashing stolen checks owned by Shawn Burke, 23, who is stationed with the Army in Texas but soon is headed for his second deployment in Iraq.

Gamblin, who has been wanted since Oct. 13, told police that she had been living with her family in Cambridge. She paid $40 unsecured bail and was released from the Piscataquis County Jail. She is expected to make her initial court appearance on Jan. 5 in 13th District Court.

Greenville Police Chief Scott MacMaster said that after the Bangor Daily News published a story Tuesday on Burke’s plight, 12 people called police to provide information about Gamblin’s whereabouts.

Two men already have pleaded guilty in connection with the case. Duane Hyde, 37, of Dover-Foxcroft and Robert Brammer, 29, of Guilford pleaded guilty this fall to forgery and their sentencing has been continued to February.

The checks cashed reportedly were taken from a box of checks Burke’s credit union had mailed, at his request, to his brother’s home in Dover-Foxcroft. The checks were written in amounts ranging from $630 to $6,500, and the first were cashed in February, several days after Burke had returned to the U.S. after his first deployment in Iraq, according to MacMaster.

MacMaster said the checks were stolen by acquaintances of Burke’s brother’s and cashed at credit union branches in Dover-Foxcroft, Guilford, Dexter and Greenville. Identification or licenses were provided by the individuals where the checks were cashed, he said.

Burke, who met with police during a leave Monday, said he was “frustrated” and “agitated” over the loss of his life savings. Because Burke failed to check his statement and did not notify the credit union within 20 days upon its receipt to report the missing funds, a credit union official said he bears some fault. The official said the credit union would refund only $3,995 to Burke.

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