Routine traffic stop leads to two arrests

Posted Aug. 06, 2009, at 9:22 p.m.

OLD TOWN, Maine — A routine traffic stop early Wednesday morning led to the arrest of two people on burglary charges and triggered an investigation that could lead to more arrests and charges.

Arrested and charged with burglary were Brandon Michael Moontri, 18, of Dover-Foxcroft and a 17-year-old transient whose name was withheld because of his age, Old Town police Sgt. Scott Casey said Thursday. Casey said Moontri also was charged with theft by unauthorized taking, driving without a license, attaching false plates and sale and use of drug paraphernalia.

After the arrests, Moontri was taken to Penobscot County Jail in Bangor, where he remained Thursday night, a jail official confirmed.

The juvenile was taken to Mountain View Youth Development Center in Charleston. No further information was available about his status.

The episode that led to the arrests began about 2:40 a.m., when Old Town police Officer Lori Renzullo spotted a car with a defective rear license plate light and pulled it over, Casey said.

When she approached the car, driven by Moontri, Renzullo detected the aroma of burning marijuana and called for the Police Department’s canine team, Pumba and his handler, Officer James Fearon, he said.

After the drug-sniffing dog got a “hit” from the car, police officers searched it and found a backpack containing a laptop computer and other items including business cards and a vehicle registration bearing the name of an Old Town woman.

There were four passengers in Moontri’s car, but since none was a female, the officers asked whom the backpack, laptop and other items belonged to, Casey said.

“One of them, a juvenile in the car, said a friend had given it to him but didn’t know who it was,” Casey said.

The officers contacted the woman whose name was on the documents to inform her that they had her belongings.

“She didn’t even know they were missing,” Casey said, adding that police believe that the suspected thieves stole the items from inside the woman’s home while she was asleep.

Casey also said that the incident remains under investigation and that police also suspect Moontri, the juvenile and possibly others in the car had been breaking into vehicles before Renzullo caught up with them.

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