Family robbed during funeral grateful for police, community support

By Jen Lynds, BDN Staff
Posted Oct. 17, 2011, at 5:44 p.m.

LINNEUS, Maine — Four people who allegedly burglarized a residence while the homeowners and other family members were at a funeral remained in the Aroostook County Jail in Houlton Monday evening. Meanwhile, members of the victimized family credited the community and Maine State Police for helping to quickly solve the crime.

While the family of local businessman Darrell McGuire attended his funeral on Oct. 3, burglars entered the Linneus residence where he had died and stole jewelry, guns, prescription medications and other small items.

The McGuire family quickly offered a $5,000 reward for any information related to the crime while state police Sgt. Brian Harris and Trooper Dennis Quint investigated the crime. Quint and Detective Darrin Crane of the state police’s evidence response team gathered evidence at the scene.

Four days later, police arrested Cheryl Sawyer, 32, of Linneus and Phil Buzzeo, 33, of Houlton. Two other persons of interest — Halston Wiley, 30, of the Houlton area and Amanda Berry, 26, of Weston — were caught together in Bangor a short time later.

Doug McGuire, who is Darrell McGuire’s son, said Monday afternoon that everyone in Linneus, a community of about 800 residents, and surrounding towns in southern Aroostook rallied around the family when word of the burglary got out.

“Everyone was so helpful,” he said. “We had an awful lot of calls with information. Everyone just wanted these people caught.”

McGuire said that after his father’s funeral at the Houlton Wesleyan Church, he and some other family members returned at about 5 p.m. on Oct. 3 to the McGuire residence on New Limerick Road.

“My sister discovered it,” he said. “My mother [Barbara McGuire] had just gotten there. I looked down the hall and saw them looking around frantically. I came down and saw a jewelry box and other items strewn around the bed. It was just a mess, and then we noticed other things were missing. At that point, we just decided to get out of the house and call the police.”

McGuire said that Quint and Harris “almost took this personally.”

“I really give them a lot of credit,” he said. “They acted like it was their family members that this had happened to.”

Quint arrested Sawyer and Buzzeo on Oct. 6 in Aroostook and charged both with receiving stolen property and burglary.

Maine State Police troopers in Bangor picked up Wiley and Berry the next afternoon. Berry was charged with burglary, theft, violation of conditions of release and possession of drugs. Wiley was arrested for burglary and theft.

All were taken to the Aroostook County Jail in Houlton.

McGuire said the crime was even more heartbreaking because Wiley is a relative.

“He is my wife’s sister’s child,” he said. “He has been in trouble with the law before. This just broke my wife’s heart.”

McGuire said that Wiley likely knew that the family would be at the funeral that day. He said that one individual called and inquired about the reward, but the information he provided was data that investigators already knew, so he didn’t receive the money. No one else has asked for reward money.

“No one has even mentioned it,” he said. “This just upset so many people, including the police, that they pretty much moved heaven and earth to help us. They [the burglars] might have gotten away with something like this in a city, but not in Aroostook County.”

Wiley has an extensive criminal history for charges including burglary, theft, criminal mischief and operating a motor vehicle after revocation of drivers license, eluding an officer and violation of conditions of release. Sawyer was convicted in March of refusing to submit to arrest or detention. Information on prior charges against Berry and Buzzeo wasn’t immediately available.

Darrell McGuire was 78 when he died. He established Darrell McGuire and Sons, a logging contractor operation in Linneus, and DBJ McGuire, a truck garage in Houlton, both of which are still run by family members.

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/10/17/news/aroostook/family-robbed-during-funeral-grateful-for-police-community-support/ printed on July 28, 2014