Augusta man held as suspect in series of midcoast break-ins

Posted Aug. 11, 2009, at 2:37 p.m.

SEARSPORT, Maine — A joint investigation has led to the arrest of an Augusta man who has been charged in connection with six break-ins in Wiscasset and who is believed to be responsible for four burglaries that occurred in Waldo County in June.

John Howard, 33, of Court Street was arrested at his home on Aug. 5 in connection with six break-ins in Wiscasset that took place early last week.

Howard also has admitted breaking into Poppa J’s Restaurant in Belfast, Searsport Shores Campground and Angler’s Restaurant in Searsport and Just Barb’s Restaurant in Stockton Springs on June 25. Money, food and personal belongings were taken in all of the break-ins.

The face of the burglar of Angler’s was recorded by a security camera, but despite publication in the news media, police received no tips about his identity. That changed last week, however, when a security camera at a Wiscasset business that was broken into on Aug. 3 captured the image of a man who resembled the Waldo County burglar.

LaHaye said crime analyst Wendy Kierstead, who works for Lincoln, Sagadahoc and Androscoggin counties, notified Belfast Detective Michael McFadden of the similarities of the two images.

McFadden and Searsport Officer Steve Saucier spent the next two days on the case and developed Howard as a suspect. They located him in Augusta and were on hand when the Augusta Police Department arrested him last Wednesday.

Howard was charged with the Wiscasset burglaries and is being held at Two Bridges Jail in Wiscasset. He is expected to be charged for the Waldo County break-ins as well, LaHaye said.

“This is still under investigation and there potentially could be more charges coming,” LaHaye said.

Police departments in Searsport, Belfast, Wiscasset and Augusta, along with the Waldo County Sheriff’s Department, worked on the joint investigation, he said.

“This was a well-done investigation and good joint police work,” Searsport Police Chief Richard LaHaye said Tuesday. “Everyone worked together on this.”

wgriffin@bangordailynews.net

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