BELFAST, Maine — A man accused of stealing a wrecked vehicle from the East Side Garage was arrested Thursday night after he allegedly got into an accident with the car.
Peter Richardson, 49, of Stockton Springs was charged with operating after suspension and unauthorized use of property.
According to Detective Bryan Cunningham of the Belfast Police Department, police received a call at 7:30 p.m. Thursday about an accident involving a drunken driver near Jerry’s Hardware on Route 1. A few minutes earlier, they had received a call from the Big Apple convenience store — adjacent to the East Side Garage — with the report of a wrecked vehicle driving across their parking lot and heading north on Route 1.
Arriving officers couldn’t locate the driver, as he had apparently wandered off, but the person who had reported the accident identified the man as Richardson.
Police called for a dog to search for the man but had no luck, Cunningham said.
Two hours later, Richardson showed up near the wrecked vehicle, though he told police he knew nothing about it. He had a bottle of coffee brandy tucked into his back pocket.
“He told police he had just hitchhiked from Portland and passed out in the bushes behind the hardware store,” Cunningham said.
The trooper with the dog had located a leather jacket, lighter and the car keys behind the hardware store, and Richardson said that the jacket was his.
Investigating officers learned from the vehicle’s owner that an accident two weeks ago left the car with a wrecked rear end and a wheel that was about to fall off. Because the vehicle was not “really” drivable, Cunningham said, the keys had been left in it at the garage.
Officials were unable to do an accurate blood alcohol level test on Richardson because so much time had elapsed between when he allegedly had driven the wrecked car and when he came back to the vehicle.
Richardson was taken to Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset on $500 bail. He was arraigned Friday in Waldo County District Court via video link.