Police arrest Maine sex offender in Pa. park rape

Posted Aug. 11, 2010, at 9:16 a.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 11:53 a.m.
Mike Beaulieu, 35, of Anson from Maine Sex Offender Registry
Mike Beaulieu, 35, of Anson from Maine Sex Offender Registry

BANGOR, Maine — A convicted sex offender from Anson was arrested Tuesday night in New Brunswick by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in connection with a brutal daytime rape and kidnapping that occurred last week in Pennsylvania’s Allegheny National Forest.

Mike Beaulieu, 35, who served four years in a Maine prison after a 2005 rape conviction, is accused of attacking a couple at the Kinzua Point Information Center.

After approaching the couple, he allegedly forced them to the ground at gunpoint, tied the male up with rope and duct tape and then forced the woman into his pickup truck and left the area with her.

The male victim freed himself and alerted nearby people, who called police, Pennsylvania authorities said last week.

They said their suspect then took the woman to another area, where he raped her and let her go. The woman was found by state police troopers who were searching the area for her.

Beaulieu now faces several charges in Pennsylvania, including rape, aggravated assault, unlawful restraint and carrying an unlicensed firearm in the attack.

He also faces several customs and firearms charges in New Brunswick.

Information and descriptions provided by the couple and other witnesses led Pennsylvania authorities to believe their suspect was from Maine.

Though it wasn’t clear Wednesday why Beaulieu, a U.S. citizen, fled to New Brunswick, Sgt. Rick Bernard of the RCMP’s Edmundston detachment confirmed Beaulieu’s family roots were in northwestern New Brunswick.

A major break in the search for Beaulieu came shortly after 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.

That’s when Fort Kent Police Chief Kenneth Michaud spotted the Beaulieu’s black GMC extended cab pickup near the Fort Kent Blockhouse, a two-story historic wooden fort located at the confluence of the Fish and St. John rivers.

Michaud said that he began keeping an eye out for the suspect and his truck after Pennsylvania authorities issued a nationwide alert asking law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout for Beaulieu and his truck. The alert also said that Beaulieu could be headed toward northern Maine, Michaud said.

“I went around town looking,” Michaud said, adding that he scoped out the University of Maine Fort Kent campus and local businesses before heading to the blockhouse.

When he got there, a blockhouse employee told him that an unknown male had been sleeping in a nearby tenting area and that a pickup matching the description of the one Beaulieu was believed to be driving was parked near a tenting area.

“I looked down there and ran the plate number and got a hit,” Michaud said.

“There were binoculars and a guitar on a table,” he said. He secured those items and then had the pickup truck towed to a local service center, where it was impounded.

In the back of the pickup, Michaud found a set of license plates from New Hampshire that had been reported stolen.

Maine State Police Detective Sgt. John Cote said the plates were reported stolen Sunday in Twin Mountain, a village in Carroll in the White Mountains.

Michaud called Pennsylvania authorities to let them know the truck had been located and then sent them digital photos, he said.

Beaulieu, however, was nowhere to be found. Michaud and other law enforcement officials believe that the suspect waded and swam across the St. John River to Clair, New Brunswick. From there, he likely walked or got a ride to Baker Lake.

Within hours, U.S. authorities contacted RCMP personnel assigned to the Atlantic Region’s Integrated Border Enforcement Team, or IBET, to advise them that the suspect was believed to have illegally crossed into New Brunswick via the Saint John River, Bernard said Wednesday.

He said that after receiving a tip that a suspicious man had been seen walking in the Baker Lake area, IBET members assisted by members of the Canada Border Services Agency and RCMP personnel, including tracking dog handlers and drug and customs and excise investigators, searched the area.

They found Beaulieu at a campground and arrested him without incident about 8 p.m. EST.

Michaud, who was informed of the arrest Tuesday night, said he was told Beaulieu was in possession of a .45-caliber pistol and a roll of duct tape when he was taken into custody.

Bernard said Wednesday that Beaulieu is being held at Madawaska Regional Correctional Centre in Saint-Hilaire, New Brunswick.

During an appearance in Edmundston Provincial Court Wednesday afternoon, Beaulieu was charged with several customs and firearms violations under Canada’s Customs Act, a provincial court clerk said.

Those charges included importing a firearm into Canada; failure to stop at a customs office before entering Canada; importing a restricted weapon; possession of a firearm without a registration certificate; storing a firearm without a lawful excuse; and possession of a loaded restricted firearm, the clerk said.

Beaulieu also was charged with possession of marijuana, she said.

She said Beaulieu will be held at the correctional facility pending a bail hearing set for 9 a.m. EST Monday, Aug. 16.

The Maine State Police have been asked by their Pennsylvania counterparts to process the truck, Detective Sgt. John Cote of the Houlton barracks said Wednesday.

Cote said Beaulieu’s pickup was towed to the evidence bay at the Houlton barracks, where investigators will comb through it for potential evidence.

According to Cote, Maine authorities have been helping search for Beaulieu since Pennsylvania police determined that their suspect was from Maine

Besides watching travel corridors, investigators in Maine armed with a partial license plate number searched the Department of Motor Vehicles database, Cote said.

“As the case progressed, it certainly seems we were getting confirmation that he was heading for Maine,” Cote said.

Margaret Philbin, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney in Pittsburgh, told The Associated Press that office may be asked to take over the prosecution, since the attack occurred on federal forest land. If that happens, the state charges would likely be dismissed and a federal grand jury indictment would be sought.

dgagnon@bangordailynews.com

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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