Accused firewood thief surrenders to Belfast police

Posted Sept. 25, 2012, at 2:46 p.m.

BELFAST, Maine — A man turned himself in to police Tuesday morning after game camera photos of him stealing a trunkload of firewood from an Oak Hill Road residence were released to the media the previous day.

Robert Porter, 47, of Belfast, was identified by his brother, who called to tell him that police were looking for him, according to Detective Sgt. Bryan Cunningham of the Belfast Police Department.

Porter, who had been released from the Maine Coastal Regional Reentry Center, has been charged with Class E theft, a misdemeanor crime.

The center is located in the former Waldo County Jail and aims to successfully integrate state and county inmates near the end of their sentences back into their communities. Cunningham said he estimated the value of the stolen firewood to be $500.

Porter told police he had been living in the woods for a while while he was between residences and had spotted the firewood. He said he took wood twice, using it to keep warm.

After the first theft, the owner of the wood alerted police to the theft and officers set up a black-and-white game camera, which snapped photographs of Porter at the woodpile at the end of August.

But police had a hard time identifying the man from the grainy, black-and-white photos, none of which showed his face, and that is why they reached out for the public’s help, Cunningham said.