POLICE BEAT

Texas police arrest man wanted in Waldo County burglaries

Posted April 04, 2011, at 7:05 p.m.
Last modified April 04, 2011, at 8:15 p.m.
Peter Richardson
Photo courtesy of Waldo County Jail
Peter Richardson

BELFAST, Maine — Police said this week that the alleged hub of a series of burglaries in the towns of Brooks, Jackson, Troy, Monroe and Knox was arrested last month in Hardin County, Texas.

Billy Joe Hall, 24, of Brooks has been held in custody in Texas on numerous charges of burglary and theft since his arrest March 10, but he will be extradited to Waldo County, according to Chief Deputy Robert Keating of the Waldo County Sheriff’s Department.

“Sometimes it can take six weeks before we get them back,” Keating said of the extradition process.

After police in mid-February requested the public’s help in finding Hall, who was on the lam, they received an anonymous call saying he had been working at an auto parts store in Texas. Based on that information, local police arrested him there.

Hall is one of five men charged in connection with the burglaries. The others are Patrick R. Bickford, 22, of Brooks; his father, Smith Leroy Bickford, 48, of Jackson; Jonathan David McCue, 22, of Knox; and Zachary T. Milliken, 28, of Dixmont, all of whom had been arrested previously and charged with various counts of burglary and theft.

According to a February interview with an official from the Waldo County Sheriff’s Office, during this year and last, the men broke into camps, homes and buildings and stole metal, vehicles and firearms, among other items. Sometimes the men went into vacant houses and cut out the copper piping, police said. In another instance, they backed a pulp loader truck up to a broken-down vehicle, took the car and then sold it for scrap metal.

“It was pretty much a free-for-all,” Lt. Jason Trundy said of the thefts.

According to the police, Hall reportedly would find one of the other men and they would then commit a burglary.

The other men charged previously were arrested and then released from jail on bail. (Abigail Curtis, BDN)

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STOCKTON SPRINGS, Maine — A man who allegedly stole two cans of beer from the Belfast Co-op and also is reported to have broken into the Stockton Springs Community Library was arrested and charged by the police departments of two towns late last week.

Stockton Springs police said Peter Richardson, 49, of Stockton Springs admitted March 31 to breaking a basement window at the library to get out of the cold.

Police had been investigating a break-in that occurred on March 25, during which nothing apparently had been taken but a hat had been left behind.

Richardson told them that he went upstairs, sat in the front room and read some books, and that he had gone there because he hadn’t wanted his roommates to see him in “a drunken state,” according to Detective Merl Reed, police supervisor for Stockton Springs.

After interviewing Richardson, investigation Officer Dennis Remillard arrested him and charged him with criminal trespass and criminal mischief.

But Richardson’s police troubles weren’t over.

The hat he said he left in the library was recognized by Belfast Police Department officials as belonging to a man who had reportedly stolen two cans of beer from the co-op on March 20.

That man took the beer, drank one in the store’s restroom and when he left with the other can, it was caught on video, said Sgt. Walter Corey.

“One thing led to another,” Corey said about investigating the two separate incidents.

Belfast police had co-op employees do a photo lineup of suspects in the beer theft, and two people identified Richardson as the alleged thief.

Although such a crime ordinarily would be considered a misdemeanor offense because Richardson had prior convictions of theft, the charge was elevated to a felony, Corey said.

Belfast police issued him a summons for theft on April 1.

A Waldo County Jail official said Richardson was released Monday on $500 cash bail.

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