Panhandler arrested in Belfast on fugitive from justice charge

Posted Feb. 26, 2013, at 8:40 p.m.
Michael J. Epley
Waldo County Jail
Michael J. Epley

BELFAST, Maine — A man who was panhandling near Route 3 last week was a fugitive from justice who was wanted on charges out of Alabama, according to police.

Michael J. Epley, 36, who told police he was from Patten, was holding a sign asking for money and standing in the middle of the Fairground Road on Feb. 22 when Detective Sgt. Bryan Cunningham of the Belfast Police Department drove by and asked him to move to the side of the road. He also asked Epley for his identification and ran it through the system.

“Turns out he’s got an extraditable warrant from Alabama for fraud,” Police Chief Mike McFadden said Tuesday. The chief had no further information about the Alabama charge.

Epley was arrested and charged with being a fugitive from justice, and taken to Waldo County Jail in Belfast to be booked.

McFadden said he believes many of the people who ask for money on roadsides in Maine are “potential scam artists.”

“They’re taking advantage of the kind nature of people in our community and taking money from them,” he said. “This fellow was wandering around, trying to avoid prosecution for a criminal charge … the moral is, be careful out there.”

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