MACHIAS, Maine — Former Washington County Sheriff Joseph Tibbetts, 61, was arrested Monday night after allegedly holding an Addison family at gunpoint in the blueberry barrens in Township 19, near Columbia Falls last week.
Tibbetts, a retired state trooper, former Washington County Sheriff and former state representative was charged with criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon and with threatening display of a weapon. The Columbia resident was arrested without incident and taken to Washington County Jail, where he was released on $5,000 unsecured cash bail, according to Sheriff Donnie Smith.
The more serious criminal threatening charge carries a possible penalty of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
The investigation began on Aug. 13 when an Addison family called 911 to report that a man who identified himself as Tibbetts, and whom one of the victims recognized as a previous employer, had threatened them and held them at gunpoint when they were visiting the barrens to spot bears.
An investigation by Sgt. Randy Perry of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that an armed confrontation had taken place on a dead-end road, Smith said Tuesday night.
An arrest warrant was issued by Justice Kevin Cuddy on Monday and Tibbetts was arrested that afternoon by Perry and Maine State Police Trooper Miles Carpenter.