Waterville transient accused of stealing laptops at Colby College, police say

Posted Nov. 30, 2012, at 12:09 p.m.
Last modified Nov. 30, 2012, at 2:34 p.m.

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WATERVILLE, Maine — A Waterville transient with whom police in the Elm City have dealt several times is facing a felony charge for stealing laptops from Colby College students, according to police.

Robert Nichols, 28, who has prior convictions for drugs and theft, was booked on a charge of felony theft on Thursday, according to Waterville Deputy Chief Charles Rumsey.

Officer Dennis Picard had been dispatched to Colby College around 1 p.m. Thursday to investigate the theft of several laptops, Rumsey explained.

Two students met with Picard outside the Robert dining hall and told the officer their laptops had been stolen from an area outside the dining hall, Rumsey said. Campus employees and campus security told Picard they had seen a suspicious man wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt and carrying a green backpack.

Picard determined that the man had left the area in a taxicab and been dropped off in the Elm Plaza area, according to Rumsey.

Picard spotted a man matching the description, who turned out to be Nichols, as he was coming out of Hannaford supermarket, Rumsey said.

Upon seeing the officer, Nichols fled back into the store, but Picard was in hot pursuit and the suspect was quickly detained, Rumsey said. He said two laptops, one valued at $2,000 and the other at $2,200, were found in Nichols’ backpack.

Nichols was placed under arrest and brought to the Kennebec County Correctional Facility after he was unable to post $2,500 bail, Rumsey said. Nichols remained at the jail on Friday morning.

Rumsey said Nichols could face further charges in connection with a number of other thefts at Colby that were reported to police throughout the week.

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