Dedham mom pleads to 14 charges stemming from burglary spree

Posted March 22, 2013, at 5:39 a.m.
Last modified March 22, 2013, at 11:03 a.m.

ELLSWORTH, Maine — A Dedham woman pleaded guilty Thursday to 14 criminal charges that stemmed from a burglary spree she and her daughter allegedly committed last year in Hancock and Penobscot counties.

Lorrie Ellen Gray, 52, is accused of accompanying her daughter, Lindsey Ames, 22, also of Dedham, on at least seven residential burglaries committed last summer and fall. The burglaries occurred in Dedham, Glenburn, Hermon and Orrington between August and October of last year, according to Assistant Hancock County District Attorney Mary Kellett.

Gray pleaded guilty to seven counts of burglary, six counts of theft and one count of receiving stolen property after having been accepted in Hancock County’s drug court program. The charges from Penobscot County were transferred to Hancock County so Gray could participate in the program, Kellett said. Drug dependencies are believed to be motivating factors in the burglary spree for both the mother and the daughter, she said.

According to an arrangement agreed upon by prosecutors and Gray’s defense attorney, Will Blaisdell of Ellsworth, Gray will have to serve 90 days in jail before being released and held to the obligations of drug court. She will be on probation for two years upon her release. If Gray does not abide by the requirements of drug court — which include no criminal behavior, staying away from drugs and alcohol and frequent appearances with drug court personnel — she could go to prison for up to three and a half more years.

Ames also has been accepted into Hancock County’s drug court program, Kellett said, and within the next few weeks is expected to plead guilty and to face similar conditions.

Gray and Ames were arrested last October after police stopped them on I-395 because their car had been seen an hour earlier leaving a home in Dedham that had just been burglarized. Inside the car with Ames and Gray was a piece of jewelry that police said had been stolen from the Dedham home, according to Kellett.

Ames and Gray already were or quickly became suspects in other burglaries in suburban Bangor and, by the end of last year, were indicted in both Penobscot County and Hancock County.

Kellett said that there were eight related burglaries in total. Police have connected Ames to all eight but can only place Gray at seven of them, she said. Gray was charged with receiving stolen property in the eighth burglary because she allegedly sold some of the items taken from the home to a Bangor gold dealer, Kellett said.

According to Kellett, police believe that during the spree Gray would drive her daughter to the targeted homes and wait outside while Ames crawled through unlocked windows, sometimes cutting screens or removing air conditioning units to get inside. Items that were taken include jewelry, small electronic devices such as iPods or digital cameras, and, in at least one case, blank checks that then were written out to Gray and cashed. One ring that was stolen and later recovered is valued at $12,500, Kellett said.

Prosecutors plan to require Gray and Ames to pay restitution for stolen items that were not recovered, but what Gray might be required to pay gave pause to Justice Ann Murray on Thursday. Murray asked Kellett and Blaisdell how much restitution Gray might face and they said they were not sure. Quickly going over some dollar estimates Kellett had in her notes, they estimated it could amount to tens of thousands of dollars.

“You could be looking at more than $20,000 in restitution,” the judge told Gray.

Murray said she would accept Gray’s 14 guilty pleas but, before she would sign off on it, she wants prosecutors to nail down a specific restitution figure that both Gray and Ames will be responsible for. The judge ordered the proceeding continued until April 18, at which time prosecutors are expected to have a specific total restitution order for the burglaries in both counties.

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