Key witness in case against topless coffee shop arsonist arrested

Posted Jan. 05, 2012, at 8 a.m.
Last modified Jan. 27, 2012, at 1:58 p.m.

WATERVILLE, Maine — A key witness in the trial of a man convicted of burning down a Vassalboro coffee shop that employed topless servers is now facing his own legal troubles.

Police say Thomas Mulkern, 26, of Gardiner was arrested Tuesday and charged with stealing money from a home and fleeing from police. He was arrested wearing hospital scrubs because he had been admitted to a hospital the previous night on suspicion of being under the influence of the drug known as bath salts.

Police told the Morning Sentinel that officers needed to use a stun gun to subdue Mulkern, who was combative during his arrest.

Mulkern was a key prosecution witness during the two week trial of Raymond Bellavance Jr., convicted last week of arson in the June 2009 coffee shop fire.