Convicted panty thief facing new theft charges

By Bill Trotter, BDN Staff
Posted Nov. 13, 2012, at 1:38 p.m.

ELLSWORTH, Maine — A former mail carrier who served six months behind bars for stealing women’s underwear several years ago is facing new burglary and theft charges in Hancock County.

Earle Covert Cowperthwaite, Jr., 58, of Gouldsboro, is accused of stealing metal pipes and wiring in April of this year from a house in Gouldsboro owned by Eastern Maine Development Corporation, according to documents on file at Hancock County Superior Court. He has been charged with burglary and theft in connection with the incident.

Few details about the alleged crime are available in filed court documents on the case.

The charges against Cowperthwaite had been expected to go to trial in the next few weeks but his defense attorney, Charles Helfrich of Ellsworth, has requested a continuance because of a scheduling conflict on Nov. 15, when jury selection is expected to take place, court documents indicate.

Helfrich said Tuesday that he had not heard whether his continuance request has been granted. He said the district attorney’s office is seeking to try Cowperthwaite and his co-defendant, Justin M. Landeen, 28, of Gouldsboro, together. Landeen is facing charges of burglary, theft and violating conditions of release.

Helfrich declined to comment further about the case.

Neither Landeen’s defense attorney, Will Blaisdell of Ellsworth, nor Hancock County Assistant District Attorney Mary Kellett, who is prosecuting the case, could be reached Tuesday for comment.

In 1999, Cowperthwaite was arrested after a Gouldsboro woman became suspicious that he twice had stolen underwear from her bedroom when he delivered packages to her house. She went to police, who set up a hidden camera in the woman’s bedroom and mailed another large package to her house. When Cowperthwaite returned to the house to deliver it, the camera recorded him stealing another pair of underwear from the home, police said at the time.

Police then obtained a search warrant for Cowperthwaite’s home, where they subsequently found nearly 150 items of undelivered and opened mail. They also found the underwear that was taken from the woman’s home.

According to previously published reports in the Bangor Daily News, undelivered packages found in Cowperthwaite’s home contained items sent by lingerie company Victoria’s Secret, mail order retailers such as Land’s End, and “many adult entertainment distributors.” Bras, underwear and hair spray were among the items that had been in the packages.

The following year, Cowperthwaite was sentenced to serve six months in federal prison, to pay $1,300 in restitution and to serve three years of supervised release after serving his prison time, according to information posted online in the U.S. District Court of Maine case database. In September 2007, Cowperthwaite finished repaying the restitution money, documents indicate.

Follow BDN reporter Bill Trotter on Twitter at @billtrotter.

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/11/13/news/hancock/convicted-panty-thief-facing-new-theft-charges/ printed on October 1, 2014