Fort Kent man charged in break-in, burglary at newspaper

Posted Jan. 20, 2012, at 7 p.m.

FORT KENT, Maine — A local man who was on probation for a 2009 jewelry heist in Madawaska was arrested again Friday in connection with a break-in and burglary at a Fort Kent news publication.

Fort Kent Police Chief Kenneth “Doody” Michaud said Friday evening that Luis Alduende, 36, who also goes by Luis Alduende-Villa, was on his way to the Aroostook County Jail in Houlton.

Alduende was arrested on charges of burglary and robbery earlier that day at the West Main Street building that houses Paper Signs Ink, which is the operation center for the Fiddlehead Focus.

The Fiddlehead Focus is a weekly print and online publication centering on the St. John Valley.

Michaud said that the suspect allegedly smashed in the front door of the building to gain entry. He then ransacked the office, throwing paper, trash and other materials around the room.

Andrew Birden, publisher of the Fiddlehead Focus, said Friday evening that the thief made off with a laptop and another computer.

“The value of the two systems and the software is about $7,000,” he said.

Police found spots of blood on office furniture, the carpets, strewn papers and the walls. The perpetrator also scattered chemical cleaners that were in the building around equipment.

Michaud said that one business owner called on Friday morning to report that someone had paid for an item with a bill that had some blood on it, but police later determined that the bill holder had a tiny cut from being bitten by a dog.

Officers also found blood on Main Street and looked at video cameras from nearby businesses, however, which led them to Alduende, according to Michaud.

“I’ve never met this guy, never seen him before in my life,” said Birden. “I just saw him as the police were interviewing him.”

Alduende is a native of Puerto Rico who resides in Fort Kent.

Michaud said that the suspect apparently was motivated by a desire for the computers. The computers were recovered and have been returned to the Fiddlehead Focus. Birden said they are mostly intact.

“We lost a day of business,” said Birden. “Our paper will likely be a little thinner next week. The police were wonderful. They got here very quickly and worked very hard on this. The community also has been very supportive.”

Alduende was arrested in April 2009 in connection with a burglary at Roberts Jewelry on Main Street in Madawaska. He was living there at the time. He smashed the store’s front display window before stealing a number of items that were in the display area. He was sentenced one year later to three years in prison with all but 30 days suspended on the burglary charge, along with two years of probation. He also was ordered to pay restitution of $3,391.95.

Alduende also received 30 days in jail for theft by unauthorized taking or transfer.

Michaud said that he and his officers worked all day on the case.

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