Man charged with stealing from cars of fellow employees at Phippsburg workplace

Posted Aug. 17, 2012, at 3:02 p.m.

PHIPPSBURG, Maine — A Bath man is facing six charges after allegedly entering and stealing from two vehicles of fellow employees parked at his former place of employment on Route 209.

John Skroski, Phippsburg’s chief of police, said the charges stem from two car burglaries — one that occurred Aug. 10 and the other on Aug. 12. One of the vehicles was unlocked and the other was locked but broken into. Both vehicles belonged to employees who work at a restaurant near Fort Popham on Route 209, where the car burglaries occurred.

Skroski said he got the name of a potential suspect who was an employee at the restaurant because a fellow employee reported having seen the man in another employee’s car. The employees found a soup ladle in a bush near where the locked vehicle was broken into, Skroski said.

On Monday, Skroski, assisted by Bath patrol officers Jason Aucoin and Garrett Olsen, interviewed 23-year-old George Markos of 12 Cottage St., Bath. Having learned Markos had bail conditions in place, which allowed him to search Markos’ property, he conducted a search, looking for an iPod nano and $45 in cash taken from the locked car that was broken into. Markos had returned the small amount of cash he allegedly took from the unlocked car, Skroski said.

During the search, Skroski said he told Markos that if he turned over the stolen items, he wouldn’t arrest him — a situation that he said is mutually beneficial for all in order to get the property back to the victim.

Police continued the search, and then searched Markos’ girlfriend’s residence, but without locating the iPod. Skroski said when police returned to Markos’ home, however, he produced the iPod nano and $45. Markos then filled out an admission statement for him, Skroski said, owning up to both car burglaries. The owner of the iPod nano was very happy to have his property back, Skroski said.

If you enter and steal from an unlocked vehicle, the resulting charge is a misdemeanor, Skroski said. If you break into a car using any burglary tools, however, it results in a felony charge.

Markos, whom Skroski said has a history of theft which elevates the charges, faces burglary to a motor vehicle (Class D); burglary to a motor vehicle (Class C); two counts of violation of condition of release (one Class C and one Class D); and two counts of theft by unauthorized taking or transfer (both Class C).

Due to his cooperation, Skroski said Markos was summoned Wednesday evening and has a court arraignment Oct. 9 in West Bath District Court.

Skroski took the opportunity to remind residents to either remove valuables from their vehicles or to conceal them. He advised residents to secure their homes and vehicles, making it more likely to deter a thief. If a thief does break in, it is more likely the thief will leave behind evidence by breaking through glass, for example.

Maine is not the same state he moved to in 1996, said Skroski, and crime trends are changing within the state and are connected to drug use.

“We want to prevent these crimes from occurring and if they can partner with us in exercising good crime prevention and do those little things, they can make a heck of a difference,” he said.

During the search of Markos’ apartment, Bath police also charged a 17-year-old girl who was allegedly in possession of two marijuana pipes, a small amount of marijuana, two pills and cigarettes, according to Lt. Stan Cielinski of the Bath Police Department. She was issued summonses charging her with possession of tobacco by a minor, possession of a usable amount of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of schedule W drugs and possession of schedule Z drugs. She was give a juvenile court date of Oct. 1.

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