Man charged in gun theft to stay in jail

Posted Sept. 13, 2010, at 3:51 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 11:33 a.m.

BANGOR — A man charged with breaking into an Orrington gun shop and stealing a dozen firearms agreed Monday to be held without bail until his case is resolved rather than have potentially incriminating tapes played for a federal judge.

Corey Damon, 19, of Millinocket made the decision after recordings of his phone calls from the Penobscot County Jail to his grandparents, father and girlfriend were turned over to federal prosecutors. Damon allegedly discussed retribution against a co-defendant, his drug use, and the location of more stolen guns during the conversations.

All outgoing calls from the jail must be collected and are recorded and monitored. Inmates and those receiving phone calls are informed that their conversations are being recorded.

Damon was expected to be released on bail this week after U.S. Magistrate Judge Margaret Kravchuk on Wednesday ruled Damon could live in Orrington under house arrest with his grandparents, Robin and Cheryl Cassidy. His release was delayed so U.S. Probation and Pre-trial Services could determine what type of electronic monitoring would work best with the Cassidys’ phone system.

Kravchuk stayed the order to release Damon on Friday after Assistant U.S. Attorney James McCarthy, who is prosecuting the case, filed a motion alleging that in phone calls Damon made from the jail, he threatened to beat up his co-defendant and cousin, Tyler Damon, 18, of Brewer. Discussions about the illegal use of prescription drugs and marijuana also were detailed in the motion to revoke bail.

McCarthy summarized in his motion more than a dozen phone calls from the jail between Aug. 25 and Sept. 1, a week before Kravchuk approved Damon’s release. The prosecutor cited the following indirect statements made by Corey Damon during the calls:

• He is going “to smash” Tyler.

• There are six more guns out on the street that he could recover.

• The 150 Valium he took before the burglary he stole from a friend’s house.

• He wanted to go to Tennessee.

• He would do drugs in jail to make the time go by.

• If the barking dog had not interrupted the burglary, he would have had 200 guns.

In addition, McCarthy cited a conversation in which Robin Cassidy allegedly told his grandson not to “beat up [his cousin because] others will take care of it.”

After Damon’s attorney, Matthew Erickson of Brewer, told Kravchuk on Monday that his client no longer was seeking to be released, the judge granted the federal prosecutor’s motion to revoke bail.

While it is not unusual for a defendant’s bail to be revoked after release from jail, it is rare that bail is revoked before the defendant can be released.

Corey Damon has been charged in U.S. District Court with theft of firearms from a federally licensed dealer in connection with the break-in and theft at about 2:45 a.m. Aug. 23 at the Mill Creek Rod & Gun. He also is facing state charges of burglary, theft, criminal mischief, unauthorized use of a vehicle and refusing to submit to arrest in the same incident.

He was taken into federal custody on Sept. 2 after his grandparents and other family members posted the $2,000 cash bail set on the state charges.

Corey Damon is one of three men charged in connection with the break-in at the gun shop, which has operated from the basement of an Orrington home for three decades. Brandon Caparotta, 19, of Winterport was released last week on $5,000 unsecured bail on federal charges of theft of firearms from the premises of a federally licensed dealer and possession of stolen guns.

Tyler Damon is facing the same charges his cousin is but he has yet to appear in federal court. He was described as a fugitive during his cousin’s bail hearing last week.

The younger Damon was charged in state court with unauthorized use of a vehicle the day after the break-in and released on bail from Penobscot County Jail two weeks ago.

During the break-in at the gun shop, Caparotta allegedly acted as lookout while Corey Damon broke into the store. Tyler Damon allegedly drove the getaway car for his cousin.

The owner of the shop was alerted to the burglary by the barking of Buddy, the family’s Jack Russell terrier. Minutes later, he found the door to his shop open and three Winchester rifles on the floor, according to court documents.

While investigating the burglary, Maine State Police Trooper Christopher Hashey learned a truck had gone off Wiswell Road in Brewer. The truck, which was being driven by Corey Damon, was reported stolen from Corinth, and there was a motorcycle reported stolen from Winterport in the bed of the truck, according to police.

The Damons were arrested a few hours after the burglary on charges related to the stolen truck and taken to the Penobscot County Jail, according to an affidavit filed in federal court. Caparotta was arrested on Aug. 26.

In all, a dozen of the 22 recovered guns, which Corey Damon eventually led investigators to, were traced to the Orrington gun shop. The rest were taken from a Millinocket residence during an earlier break-in, according to the affidavit.

Trial dates for the trio have not been set.

If convicted on the federal charges, each man faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

As of Monday, no new charges had been filed against Corey Damon in state or federal court.

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