June 23, 2018
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Christmas gift burglary took a toll on Oakland couple, says nephew

By Ryan McLaughlin, BDN Staff

OAKLAND, Maine — Police have arrested a second man in connection with a home invasion on Dec. 6 in which an elderly couple’s Christmas gifts were stolen. The crime has sparked an outpouring of community support for the victims.

Brandon Grimes, 26, was taken into custody without incident at his Summer Street residence around noon Wednesday, said Oakland police Capt. Rick Stubbert.

Grimes is a friend of the other suspect in the case, Jason Horne, 25, who was arrested Dec. 7, according to police.

Horne had been staying with Grimes at the 88 Summer St. house, across the street from where the burglary occurred, according to Stubbert.

Charlotte Lovejoy, 87, and her husband Del Lovejoy, 88, awoke to find that all their Christmas presents had been stolen. The couple have since done numerous media interviews, speaking out against the crime and thanking those who have donated money and gifts to replace what they lost. They declined to speak about the arrest of Grimes on Thursday, but Charlotte Lovejoy’s nephew, Alton Fuller of Augusta, said it has been an ordeal for them.

“It took its toll on my aunt,” Fuller told the BDN. “She’s the caregiver to my uncle.”

Police suspected two individuals were involved in the home invasion when the investigation was launched last week, according to Stubbert.

“It took a bit to get [Grimes], to prove he was there,” Stubbert said.

Once police concluded Grimes was the second suspect, he was arrested and booked on charges of theft, burglary and criminal mischief, Stubbert said. He has been released on bail from the Kennebec County Jail.

Horne and Grimes will appear in court in February.

Stubbert said last week that at least 15 gifts were stolen from the home while the couple was sleeping. Some of the gifts were wrapped and others weren’t wrapped, he said.

Police have recovered about a quarter of the couple’s Christmas gifts, but “the rest of the gifts are destroyed,” Stubbert said.

“First of all, it kind of hit a nerve with everyone here, just the nature of the crime,” Stubbert said. “Of course we work hard on all our burglaries but this one, we certainly wanted to give some extra attention.”

Donations of gifts and cash for the couple have been pouring in at the Oakland fire and police departments. Stubbert said the couple plans to use the donated money to purchase an alarm system for their home.

“They’re still a little rattled and scared from what happened,” Stubbert said.

Oakland Town Manager Peter Nielsen praised the work of his town’s police department in nabbing the suspects and the community’s generosity.

“I think the generosity of the people in Oakland has been made evident,” Nielsen said. “That’s got to be some comfort to the family.”

The stolen gifts were intended for the couple’s family members, including their grandchildren, Stubbert said last week.

“It’s tough to deal with a theft like that, especially this time of year,” Nielsen said.

Nielsen said the Oakland police and fire departments have been handling the donations, but noted a few folks have stopped by the town office to make contributions.

“It’s one of those bad stories where you hope to see some good, and I hope that the victims here have also seen the goodness that’s out there,” said Nielsen.

Donations started pouring in almost immediately after police arrested Horne, according to Nielsen, and Stubbert said between $3,000 and $4,000 has been collected.

“I do want to thank everybody, for them, for all the kindness and generosity that has been shown throughout not only the town of Oakland but the state of Maine, and even nationally,” Fuller said.

Those interested in donating to the fund should contact the Oakland Police Department between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays by calling 465-2202.

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