June 20, 2018
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Teen accused in bog walk vandalism skips court; judge issues warrant

By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — A teenager charged with breaking into and vandalizing the Orono Bog Boardwalk in July failed to show up for his arraignment Thursday at the Penobscot Judicial Center.

District Court Judge Bruce Jordan ordered that a warrant be issued for the arrest of Tyler Thomas, 18, of Bangor on the new charge of failure to appear. He set Thomas’ bail at $200.

Thomas was one of two teenagers from Bangor charged with criminal mischief, a Class E crime. The other is a 16-year-old police have not identified because he is a juvenile.

Thomas and the unidentified minor were among four teens caught by a video surveillance camera breaking into the Orono Bog Boardwalk on July 24. Three benches were vandalized during the episode, Orono police Capt. Josh Ewing said in July.

In an effort to identify the suspects, Orono police released video surveillance footage on YouTube and spread the word to area news outlets. The video showed two females and two males who appeared to be in their teens or early 20s.

The suspected vandals were caught on the video climbing over the locked gate at 7:07 p.m. July 24 and leaving the area at 7:28 p.m., Ewing said. One of the boys was carrying a skateboard.

The bog walk allows visitors to walk or use wheelchairs to make their way through a northern peat bog. Located in the Bangor City Forest and on adjacent University of Maine property, it has more than 30,000 visitors annually.

If convicted of criminal mischief, failure to appear or both, Thomas would face up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Information about the disposition of the charge against the juvenile would not be released due to a state law that prevents most juvenile crimes from being made public.

A group of vandals raised havoc at the Orono Bog Boardwalk last September, causing so much damage that the mile-long boardwalk was forced to close. They were never caught. Surveillance cameras were installed following that incident.

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