MACHIAS, Maine — Two Washington County men remained in custody Wednesday after being charged with breaking into the same residence near Cooper twice within 14 hours earlier in the week.
Shots were fired by a resident of the home during the second incident, which occurred at about 11:30 Monday night. The home located on Proverst Lane in Cathance Township is occupied by Seth McLaughlin and Vanessa Nemec.
“McLaughlin is a marijuana cultivator and caregiver for several marijuana patients in the area,” Washington County Sheriff Donnie Smith said in a press release. “During the earlier burglary and theft, a substantial amount of the medical marijuana and a 9 mm handgun were stolen.”
The couple was not home during the first break-in, the sheriff said.
Smith said that, during the second incident, as someone was trying to gain access through a window, McLaughlin called 911 and then fired six rounds from a handgun, prompting the intruders to flee. Smith said it does not appear that the intruders were armed.
Scott E. Conlin, 38, of Cutler and Raymie D. Stoddard, 30, of Machias were arrested early Tuesday morning after a vehicle stop by Washington County deputies and Machias police on Ridge Road in Marshfield. Conlin was arrested at the scene, while a male passenger in the vehicle, later identified as Stoddard, fled on foot.
With the assistance of a K-9 unit, officers subsequently tracked and arrested Stoddard at the Ridgeview Apartments in Machias. A consent search of an apartment there yielded the marijuana and the handgun taken in the first break-in and burglary. Smith said evidence also was recovered linking the subjects to other crimes in the Machias area.
Stoddard and Conlin each were charged with criminal attempt of burglary. As Conlin was found to be in violation of conditions of release on an earlier charge of trafficking of drugs, he is being held without bond. Stoddard is being held on $500 cash bail. Smith said several other charges are pending. Both are being held at Washington County Jail.
Members of the Maine State Police and the Maine Warden Service assisted in the arrests, Smith said.
“Home invasions are a problem, and it’s all connected to drug addiction,” Smith said Wednesday. “This is the fifth or sixth home invasion we’ve had in Washington County, between this year and last. These people learn where there is product, and they go after it.”