Police nab three suspected mailbox smashers in unrelated incidents

Posted Aug. 01, 2012, at 4:13 p.m.
Andrew Babonis
Hancock County Jail
Andrew Babonis
Dakotah French
Hancock County Jail
Dakotah French

LAMOINE, Maine — One teen and two young adults have been charged in connection with unrelated mailbox smashings all over coastal Hancock County since the weekend.

On Tuesday night, a 15-year-old Tremont boy was summoned by a deputy from the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office on a charge of criminal mischief for allegedly smashing nine mailboxes all over Mount Desert Island with a baseball bat.

On July 28, Andrew Babonis, 18, and Dakotah French, 21, both of Ellsworth, were arrested by a Maine State Police trooper on charges of violation of conditions of release and criminal mischief in connection with “numerous” mailbox smashings on Beach Road and Douglas Highway in Lamoine.

Lamoine, Trenton and MDI have seen a rash of mailbox smashings in recent months, according to law enforcement officials. New reports come in nearly every week of damaged boxes, but Lamoine has been hardest hit, including 40 smashed in one weekend about a month ago, said Chief Deputy Richard Bishop with the sheriff’s office.

“That type of incident consistently happens in Lamoine for some reason,” Bishop said Wednesday.

The Tremont boy was summoned after a witness called police saying she was trailing a blue SUV along Cape Road in Tremont, Bishop said. The witness claimed to watch as a boy in the passenger seat leaned out the window and smashed boxes with a baseball bat.

Deputy Larry Fickett caught up with the SUV and summoned the boy, who later was released to his mother. The boy will have a court date on the criminal mischief charge in Ellsworth District Court.

Several boxes had been smashed Saturday night along Douglas Highway and Lamoine Beach Road. Babonis and French were apprehended by Trooper Cliff Peterson late that night after one victim saw the vehicle carrying the alleged vandals and took down the license plate.

”The occupants of the vehicle arrived at Ellsworth Police Department a short time later, stating that they were being falsely accused of damaging the mailboxes,” Peterson wrote in a report.

After an investigation, Babonis and French were arrested. They bailed out of Hancock County Jail on a $750 unsecured bond early Sunday morning, and will appear in Hancock County District Court on Sept. 18.

The Rev. David Henry, one of the victims in Lamoine, said his mailbox looked like it had been smashed with rocks, but that it was still standing.

“It’s more than a little senseless,” he said of the recent spate of property damage. “They seem to be persisting in doing it. Either that, or there’s a bunch of people doing it.”

Henry said he’d repair his box, rather than replacing it. It still works, he said, plus it’s held its own in the past.

“Ours has been battered before by the snowplow,” he said. “We’ll keep rehabilitating.”

Follow Mario Moretto on Twitter at @riocarmine.

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