Mount Vernon man and his mother accused of attempted escape

Ernest Gagnon
Courtesy of Kennebec County Sheriff's Office
Ernest Gagnon
Posted Feb. 28, 2012, at 8:14 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — A Mount Vernon man who tried to escape from custody, and his mother, who helped him, were arrested Tuesday afternoon, police said.

Ernest Gagnon, 29, was arrested by the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday and charged with theft of a motor vehicle, Sheriff Randall Liberty said in a statement.

After reportedly confessing to the crime, Gagnon asked to speak with his mother, Brenda Choate, 46. Liberty said Gagnon and Choate were monitored visually and with audio in the interview room at the sheriff’s office.

“He indicated to his mother that he was going to escape,” said Liberty. “She helped him make a phone call to a friend and they made a plan to have her distract the deputies as he fled out of a window.

“Gagnon popped the screen of the window and was halfway out when deputies intervened and transported him to the Kennebec County Correctional Facility,” said Liberty.

For her role, Choate was arrested for aiding in an escape and released on $200 bail. Gagnon had attempted escape added to his charges.

Gagnon initially was arrested in connection with the theft of a 2005 Toyota 4Runner from a Mount Vernon residence earlier in the month. Liberty said Gagnon confessed to the theft. He said he had been using the 4Runner to haul scrap metal to junkyards and then dumped the vehicle in a field in Canaan, stripped off the tires and rims and abandoned it.

Liberty said Gagnon has an extensive criminal history in Maine, including convictions for assault on an officer, burglary, failing to report an accident, two thefts, receiving stolen property and violating conditions of release.

Gagnon was also on probation in Virginia. He was convicted of grand larceny and auto theft on Aug. 31, 2010. He received a 10-year sentence with all but two years suspended. Liberty said the Commonwealth of Virginia has indicated it is filing for a revocation of his probation.

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