Failure to pay restitution draws scolding, warrant

Posted April 28, 2009, at 9:03 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 12:09 p.m.

ELLSWORTH, Maine — Two men convicted five years ago of stealing more than $40,000 from a Southwest Harbor convenience store were ordered to appear in Hancock County Superior Court last week to tell a judge why they have not been making restitution payments for the crime.

One of them, Cory M. Sargent, 26, of Ellsworth, told Justice Kevin Cuddy on Friday that he has had difficulty finding work, but still managed to bring $200 with him to the court appearance. He was admonished by the judge, who told him he needed to make a better effort to repay the money if he wanted to stay out of jail.

The other man, Stephen D. Hanson, 28, did not show up, according to the Hancock County District Attorney’s Office. For that reason, an arrest warrant for Hanson has been issued, District Attorney Michael Povich said Tuesday.

Povich said both men have been ordered to pay a total of $34,000 to the owners of Gott’s Store. They stole the money, $34,000 in cash and $8,000 in checks, from the store in August 2003 when they entered the store just before it closed for the night. The money was taken from an open safe in the back of the business.

“Last month, they were here [in court] for the same thing,” Povich said. “They’ve paid very little.”

In the days immediately after the theft, the checks were recovered from a Bar Harbor bog and Sargent was arrested at an Ellsworth motel, where police also found drugs, $500 cash and $2,000 in merchandise. Hanson, who police said bought an $8,000 motorcycle with cash soon after the theft, evaded capture for two weeks but, after a daylong chase on foot and by canoe, eventually was arrested in Bucksport.

Besides the checks, Gott’s Store was able to recoup $10,000 through its insurance company.

Each man pleaded guilty in May 2004 to stealing the money. Hanson was sentenced to serve four years behind bars while Sargent received a three-year prison term.

Neither Sargent nor Hanson is believed to have a defense attorney, according to attorneys familiar with the case. Hanson is expected to be appointed a defense attorney if and when he is arrested on the unpaid restitution warrant.

Sargent and Hanson currently are each under court order to pay $50 a month in restitution, according to the district attorney’s office. Hanson is living in Franklin and told the court last month that he was working at a steakhouse in Bangor.

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