Longtime criminal held on felony charges, probation violation after allegedly trying to cash stolen checks

Posted July 09, 2012, at 10:08 p.m.
Jason Fleming
Jason Fleming

HOLDEN, Maine — A former Chester man whose last known address was in Glenburn is being held on several felony charges in connection with the theft of new checks from Holden that he allegedly attempted to cash in Hermon, Ellsworth and Bucksport.

Fleming reportedly used his own identification while at some of the banks he visited.

Jason Fleming, 33, who was arrested on July 2, remains at Penobscot County Jail, where he is being held on a probation violation pending a court appearance set for Aug. 4 at the Penobscot Judicial Center, a jail official confirmed.

Fleming is facing one charge of Class C felony theft and four Class C felony forgery charges, each of which carries a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. The suspect is scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 4 to respond to those charges. Additional charges may be pending.

A convicted robber with an extensive criminal history, Fleming recently came to the attention of Holden police Sgt. Eugene Fizell on June 15 when a resident of Balsam Drive reported to him that an unknown man had attempted to cash a check he had been expecting in the mail at a Katahdin Trust branch in Bangor, Fizell said Monday.

“We identified that man as Jason Fleming through surveillance [footage],” Fizell said.

“While working on that I was contacted by [Penobscot County] Deputy David Quinn. He told me on June 22 that he was investigating several stolen checks being cashed — or being attempted to be cashed — at Seaboard Federal Credit Union in Hermon,” he said.

Fizell said that shortly after that, he learned that police in Ellsworth and Bucksport were investigating similar incidents in their communities.

Fizell said that the checks Fleming was cashing and trying to cash belonged to the Balsam Road family who initially contacted him and from a business account belonging to another resident of that road.

Police got a break in the investigation about 2:30 p.m. July 2 when an employee of Circle K on U.S. Route 1A in Holden reported that someone drove off without paying for $40 in gasoline, Fizell said. The employee provided a description of the vehicle as well as a license plate number.

Police in nearby Brewer heard a dispatcher relay the description and found the suspect vehicle in the Lowe’s parking lot on Wilson Street in Brewer, Fizell said. Officer Shane Hughes, who works full time for the University of Maine and part time in Holden, confirmed Fleming as the gas drive-off suspect and made the arrest, Fizell said, adding that Circle K was eager to locate the suspect because he had left without paying for gas on three other occasions over the past two weeks.

While at Lowe’s, police also found a license plate on Fleming’s vehicle that had been reported stolen in Bangor around June 9, Fizell said.

Fizell said that the charges against Fleming were elevated to felony status because of his lengthy criminal history.

According to the Bangor Daily News archives, Fleming’s convictions date to at least 2004, when he was sentenced to 10 years in prison, with all but one year suspended, as well as six years of probation after being found guilty of holding up the former Pandora’s Boxxx adult video store in Brewer. According to published reports, he wielded a semiautomatic handgun during that incident but fled before getting any money.

In 2009, he was sentenced to two years and six months in prison for burglary, 60 days in jail for theft and 60 days in jail for one count of forgery and to two years and six months in prison for three counts of forgery.

Those convictions followed a break-in at a neighbor’s apartment in which Fleming took a blank check and tried to cash it at a Bangor bank, according to the BDN archives. He was caught on surveillance cameras. Also at that time, he was charged with a probation violation.

He also was convicted of theft in 2008, for which he received a five-day sentence, and driving with a revoked or suspended license in 2007, for which he was fined $250.

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