WINTERPORT, Maine — A dispute over a missing title to a vehicle sparked a fracas this week in Winterport, landing one man in jail on a charge of aggravated assault.
The trouble began after Deborah Degiovanni, 58, of Belfast purchased a vehicle from a Winterport man who had lost the original title, according to Chief Deputy Jeff Trafton of the Waldo County Sheriff’s Office.
She called police Tuesday morning to complain about the missing title, but was told that it was a civil and not a police matter, Trafton said Wednesday.
So Degiovanni apparently decided to take matters into her own hands, rustling up two companions for a trip to the seller’s home on Main Street in Winterport.
According to the police report, the man was sleeping when Degiovanni allegedly entered his home around 11:30 a.m.
“He said he was awoken by his bedroom door being knocked in,” Trafton said.
Degiovanni entered his bedroom yelling about the missing title, the man later told police. He said that she had a boxcutter-type knife in her hand.
The man tried to explain to her that he was applying for a new title, which takes some time, Trafton said.
The man even borrowed the cellphone of one of the woman’s traveling companions to call the secretary of state’s office to get proof that he had asked for a duplicate title.
“It sounds like he tried to help them,” Trafton said.
However, his efforts apparently did not defuse the tense situation and the Winterport man eventually fled to a neighbor’s house to call police.
According to the police report, Degiovanni followed him and started hitting him.
“He didn’t know if she still had the knife,” Trafton said.
The man tried to get Degiovanni off him and she ended up falling off the porch. One of her companions, Matteo Adragna, 53, also of Belfast, went to her rescue.
“He hit [the Winterport man] over the head with a metal pot cover,” Trafton said.
It left a bloody cut on his head, which police officers saw when they arrived. The man refused medical treatment. However, Degiovanni said that she had hurt herself in the fall off the porch, and was taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor by Winterport Ambulance.
“The deputy described her as being confrontational,” Trafton said.
Degiovanni denied having a knife but gave Deputy Darrin Moody permission to search her vehicle. He did find a box cutter, Trafton said.
Adragna was arrested for aggravated assault. He remained Wednesday in police custody at Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset, with bail set at $750 cash.
After Degiovanni was released from the hospital, she was issued criminal citations for burglary, criminal mischief and assault.
Although she told police she never hit the Winterport man and that he in fact attacked her, Trafton disagreed.
“We have witnesses who saw her screaming at him and saw him bleeding,” he said.