Police arrested a Washington County woman Friday and charged her with robbery in connection with an incident earlier this week that led to the shooting death of her boyfriend outside an Eastbrook home.
Ashley Crowley, 23, of Beals also has been charged in connection with two other home invasions on Dec. 11, just two days before the early morning killing of Nicholas Richards, 23, of Machias.
According to police, Richards and Crowley drove to a mobile home on Roaring Brook Road in Eastbrook on Monday. Crowley knocked on the door to report a car crash and lured the unidentified homeowner outside. The homeowner told police the couple assaulted him once he was outside. He responded by shooting Richards in the chest and then calling 911.
“The investigation into the death is still ongoing,” Maine State Police spokesman Stephen McCausland said Friday. “We know who was involved. The focus is on the circumstances under which the shooting occurred.”
McCausland confirmed Friday that Crowley also called 911 after the shooting.
In addition to a single charge related to the Eastbrook incident, Crowley has been charged with robbery and burglary for a home invasion on Dec. 11 in which an elderly woman was accosted inside her Brooklin home and robbed of drugs and money. Finally, she has been charged with burglarizing a home in Sedgwick that same day.
Richards also participated in those crimes, police said.
“We know of three separate incidents, but there is a strong possibility there could be others,” McCausland said.
Hancock County sheriff’s deputies said earlier this week that they had suspects in a series of at least six break-ins in Brooklin and Sedgwick, most occurring last weekend.
“They’ve been breaking into homes and rummaging through them,” Deputy Jeff McFarland said Thursday. “They’ve taken money, prescription drugs, firearms, all sorts of things.”
Crowley is being held at Hancock County Jail in Ellsworth. She likely will make an initial court appearance next week.
Although police have not said so publicly, residents of Eastbrook speculated earlier this week that the incident there was drug-related. In the past several years, the rural town in eastern Hancock County has seen numerous break-ins and thefts. Residents believe the crimes are motivated by the area’s growing drug problem.
“It makes me angry,” resident Bob Beaudoin said earlier this week. “People have been concerned about a drug problem for a long time, and the police don’t seem to be doing anything about it.”
Although Crowley has no criminal history, Richards had been convicted of operating under the influence of intoxicants, unlawful possession of a scheduled drug and other lesser crimes.
Townspeople interviewed on Monday did not know the man who lived at the mobile home on Roaring Brook Road. Neighbors said the rental property had been occupied by several people over the years.