Peeping suspect arrested on slew of charges

Posted July 26, 2010, at 10:07 p.m.

UNITY, Maine — A Thorndike man who reportedly was spotted early Sunday morning peeping into a woman’s home ended his nocturnal adventures in Waldo County Jail with a long list of charges filed against him.

Richard Merritt, 54, was arrested and charged with leaving the scene of a property damage accident, criminal trespass by a motor vehicle, driving to endanger, violation of privacy, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicants, theft and failure to stop for a police officer, according to a report from the Waldo County Sheriff’s Department.

Police received a call from a woman living on Town Farm Road in Unity at about 1:30 a.m. Sunday, Chief Deputy Robert Keating said Monday.

“She had observed a male subject looking into the windows of her home,” he said. “She was able to identify him as Richard Merritt.”

Deputy Sgt. Dale Brown was working at an unrelated traffic spot in Thorndike when he saw what appeared to be Merritt’s vehicle drive by shortly afterward.

After Brown identified the driver of the 1994 Honda Civic as Merritt, the man left the scene.

“He took off, drove up a driveway, past a vehicle parked in the driveway and into a thicket,” Keating said. “Mr. Merritt was ordered to get onto the ground, which he refused to do.”

Brown was able to take Merritt into custody, Keating said. When he processed the Honda Civic’s registration number, he found that the car had been stolen from the Aroostook County town of Limestone.

Merritt also was given a test that showed he was under the influence of intoxicants, Keating said. Other charges stemmed from his speedy trip up the driveway of the Thorndike home, an action considered to be driving to endanger. Merritt also allegedly struck and damaged a 2006 Chevy Cobalt parked in the driveway.

He initially was taken to Waldo County Jail, but was transferred to Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset, a jail official said Monday evening. Merritt is being held there on $2,500 cash bail or $25,000 single surety, the official said.

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