SKOWHEGAN, Maine — A Skowhegan man released last week after five months in jail was free for three days before being arrested for a burglary that allegedly happened overnight Thursday, according to Skowhegan Patrolman Herbert Oliver.
Oliver said 31-year-old Michael Fortin of Skowhegan is also suspected in other thefts in the area and is being held in Somerset County Jail on charges of burglary and theft, as well as a probation hold from a previous theft conviction in the Skowhegan area.
According to Oliver, a couple who lives at 28 Mechanic St. woke Friday morning to find that their back door had been forced open overnight. They called police at about 6:30 a.m. to report that a laptop computer, some jewelry, prescription drugs, cash and credit cards were all missing. Detectives who canvassed the area found the computer under a car across the street and an empty prescription bottle from the burglarized residence — which had contained some form of motion sickness medication — on a lawn nearby.
Other items were also found in the area — including one that appeared to be hidden in some bushes and buried by leaves and branches — that are believed to be from other burglaries involving Fortin.
“It appears that maybe he planned to return later to retrieve the other items,” said Oliver.
Oliver said some of the hidden items were related to another recent burglary and that a third homeowner reported some of the items missing on Saturday. Oliver said the investigation into the other burglaries continues.
“People in that area should check their residences and sheds to see if there’s anything missing,” said Oliver, who urged anyone with information to call Skowhegan Police Department at 474-6908.
Police received an anonymous tip about Fortin’s whereabouts and alleged involvement in the burglaries at about noontime on Friday. Fortin was arrested without incident at a residence on Pine Street where he had been staying since his release from jail. Some of the items stolen from the Mechanic Street address were allegedly found in his possession.
Oliver said Fortin is well-known to Skowhegan police from past contacts with him and that he has lived with various friends and at a local homeless shelter in recent years.
The stolen items recovered Friday — which include the computer, credit cards, a wedding band and engagement ring and an heirloom diamond ring passed down from the victim’s mother — are being held as evidence and will be returned to the owners soon.