April 20, 2018
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Southwest Harbor man pleads guilty to theft of purse

By Bill Trotter, BDN Staff

ELLSWORTH, Maine – A Southwest Harbor man who was convicted five years ago of stealing more than $40,000 from a convenience store in his hometown added another conviction to his criminal record on Thursday.

Stephen Hanson, 28, pleaded guilty Thursday in Hancock County Superior Court to a charge of theft that stemmed from a September 2008 incident in Southwest Harbor. In 2004, Hanson was sentenced to serve four years in prison after he and another man stole $42,000 in cash and checks from an open safe at Gott’s Store in Southwest Harbor.

Hanson came to the attention of Southwest Harbor police again last year after a woman called police early in the morning of Sept. 30 to complain that someone had opened a first-floor window of her home, reached in and stole a purse off a nearby table, according to court documents. The woman did not see the face of who it was, but knew it was a man wearing a hooded sweatshirt and was able to describe the vehicle the man rode away in.

Police were familiar with the car the woman described and went to stores in the area to see whether it appeared on any security camera recordings around the time of the burglary, according to attorneys involved in the case. Police found one recording that showed the car stopping at a store and more than one person getting out. One of them was Stephen Hanson, who was wearing a hooded sweatshirt in the video.

Hanson’s attorney, Jeff Toothaker of Ellsworth, on Thursday told Justice Kevin Cuddy that his client was not the one who opened the window and took the purse, but he acknowledged Hanson was involved in the incident.

Cuddy accepted Hanson’s guilty plea of theft and ordered him to serve 30 days in jail and to pay $1,450 restitution. Cuddy agreed to allow Hanson to serve the sentence concurrently with an eight-month sentence he is serving in Penobscot County Jail in Bangor on unrelated convictions for eluding an officer and being a habitual offender, according to Toothaker.

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