Suspect in gun shop theft makes bail

Posted Oct. 12, 2010, at 9:07 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A second man charged in connection with the Aug. 23 burglary and theft at an Orrington gun store was released Tuesday on bail after a brief hearing in U.S. District Court.

Tyler Damon, 18, of Brewer was arrested Thursday on a federal warrant when he appeared at the Penobscot Judicial Center for a first appearance on state charges of burglary, theft and unauthorized use of a vehicle.

Damon was charged in late August in U.S. District Court in Bangor with theft of firearms from the premises of a federally licensed dealer and possession of stolen guns along with his cousin Corey Ryan Damon, 19, of Millinocket and Brandon Caparotta, 19, of Winterport.

Caparaotta is free on $5,000 unsecured bail. Corey Damon is being held without bail at the Somerset County Jail pending the outcome of the case. During his bail hearing, the federal prosecutor said that investigators had been unable to find Tyler Damon.

Information about why Tyler Damon had not communicated with federal authorities was not available Tuesday.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Margaret Kravchuk released Tyler Damon on $5,000 unsecured bail to a relative who was not named in court and whose relationship to the defendant was not described. Although U.S. Attorney James McCarthy last week filed a motion seeking to have Tyler Damon held without bail, U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services recommended he be released.

McCarthy on Tuesday “reluctantly withdrew” his detention motion.

“I understand there have been threats to Mr. Damon’s safety so the name of the third party custodian and that person’s relationship to him were not discussed in court,” Tyler Damon’s attorney, Bruce Mallonee of Bangor, said after Tuesday’s hearing.

The alleged threats came to light when a plan to release Corey Damon was rescinded after McCarthy reviewed recordings of outgoing phone calls Corey Damon made last month while being held at the Penobscot County Jail, according to court documents. Corey Damon discussed retribution against his cousin, the documents said.

The Damons were arrested a few hours after the Aug. 23 burglary on charges related to a stolen vehicle Corey Damon allegedly was driving, and they were taken to the Penobscot County Jail, according to an affidavit filed in federal court. Caparotta was arrested on Aug. 26.

Tyler Damon, who initially was charged on Aug. 23 with unauthorized use of a vehicle, was released on bail the same day, according to jail personnel. His court date on that charge was this past Thursday, according to the Penobscot County District Attorney’s Office.

The owner of the Orrington gun shop was alerted to the burglary by the barking of Buddy, the family dog. Don Barrett, who has operated the gun shop in the basement of his home on Mill Creek Road for 30 years, was awakened by the Jack Russell terrier about 2:45 a.m. Aug. 23.

A few minutes later, he found the door to his shop open and three Winchester rifles on the floor. Barrett told police he saw a car and a truck leaving the scene.

While investigating the burglary, Maine State 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.

Caparotta was arrested three days later after investigators learned of his alleged involvement in the theft.

If convicted on the federal charge of theft of firearms from the premises of a federally licensed dealer, each man faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000. The trio’s trial date tentatively has been set for Nov. 29.

Tyler Damon’s bail conditions include electronic monitoring, no contact with co-defendants or witnesses in the case, not traveling outside the state, and not possessing dangerous weapons or illegal drugs.

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