Buttery bandit awaits trial on alleged burglaries

By Bill Trotter, BDN Staff
Posted July 10, 2011, at 6:43 p.m.

ELLSWORTH, Maine — A man with a history of breaking the law, including a 1988 incident in which he used butter to escape from jail, is expected to appear in court this week to see if the latest case against him might soon be headed to trial.

Randolph W. Garland, 46, is facing 21 counts of burglary and theft in connection with a string of burglaries he is accused of committing last year in four Hancock County towns.

According to Garland’s defense attorney, Hunter Tzovarras of Hampden, the burglary and theft case against his client is likely to go to trial sometime next month. Tzovarras said Saturday that the date is expected to be set when Garland appears Tuesday in Hancock County Superior Court for a call of the docket.

Garland also has been charged in separate cases with assault, terrorizing and violating conditions of release as a result of two incidents in March of last year. Because of the violating conditions charge, Garland remains in custody without bail at Hancock County Jail.

Tzovarras said the terrorizing, assault and violating conditions of release charges might be wrapped into Garland’s burglary case so all the charges can be tried at once. The witnesses in each case are largely the same group of people, he said, and the alleged incidents took place around the same time.

“They are kind of related, in a way,” Tzovarras said of the multiple charges.

According to police, Garland is accused of committing the burglaries and thefts in February and March of 2010. The homes Garland allegedly broke into are in Brooklin, Brooksville, Sullivan and Township 10, police have indicated.

Copper wiring and piping were taken from at least three of the homes, police have said. In an affidavit filed in court, police indicate that Garland also is accused of having stolen paintings, pictures, two chairs and a wooden sea chest from a home in Brooksville. Some of the items later were recovered by police from Garland’s Trenton apartment.

Additional details about the alleged burglaries were unavailable over the weekend.

In separate affidavits, police indicate that Garland threatened on March 12, 2010, and on March 26, 2010, to kill other people.

Tzovarras said his client denies all the allegations against him. Garland claims his roommate was behind the burglaries, which is why the stolen items were found in Garland’s apartment, Tzovarras said. The terrorizing charges, he added, stem from arguments that were “blown out of proportion” by people who complained to police.

Hancock County Assistant District Attorney William Entwisle, the prosecutor in Garland’s case, was out of the office Friday and could not be contacted for comment.

Garland has an extensive criminal record dating back to 1982 that includes multiple convictions for assault, burglary, theft, criminal trespass, criminal mischief, escape and other crimes, including a conviction in 2003 for assaulting a corrections officer at Hancock County Jail.

In 1988, Garland escaped from the old Hancock County Jail by kicking out a recessed window in his cell and squeezing himself through the 10-inch gap, according to police and published reports. He stripped naked, threw his clothes through the opening, and then smeared his body with butter packets he had saved up from his jail meals so he could slide through the narrow opening.

Garland’s freedom was short-lived, however. He was tracked down by police within a few hours in downtown Ellsworth and taken back into custody.

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/07/10/news/hancock/buttery-bandit-awaits-trial-on-alleged-burglaries/ printed on July 28, 2014