Police: Matinicus vandalism inquiry continuing

Posted April 23, 2010, at 9:26 p.m.

ROCKLAND, Maine — Police still are investigating two acts of vandalism against Edwin Vance Bunker, the Matinicus lobsterman who last month was acquitted of several charges related to a shooting on the island last summer.

Police say they have a suspect in the vandalism case, but no arrests have been made.

Bunker, 68, was found not guilty by a jury last March 12 on elevated aggravated assault, criminal threatening and reckless conduct charges that stemmed from an incident in July in which lobsterman Christopher Young was shot in the neck on the island dock during a dispute over fishing territory.

The same day Bunker was acquitted, all four tires on his pickup truck were slashed, and a few weeks later, on April 5, his truck was spray-painted. Both incidents occurred on the Matinicus airstrip.

“It is suspected to be done by the same people or person,” Knox County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Detective Reginald Walker, who is investigating the case, said Friday.

He said no further details are being released at this time.

Walker said Bunker is living on the island again and no longer has police escort him.

Bunker and his daughter Janan Miller, 46, of Spruce Head, who was found not guilty of reckless conduct for bringing a loaded shotgun to the town dock during the July incident, argued they acted in self-defense after several physical and verbal confrontations arising from fishing territory disputes, including vandalized lobster gear.

Difficult economic times have been blamed for a recent escalation of territorial tensions among midcoast lobstermen. Trap-cutting incidents have occurred, and last August three lobster boats in Owls Head were vandalized, and two of them sunk.

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