ROCKLAND, Maine — A 34-year-old Rockland man accused of breaking into a home and assaulting an occupant over a money dispute made his initial court appearance Friday afternoon.
Jason Whalen was arrested shortly before 8 p.m. Thursday after he was stopped by police in a vehicle that had been reported stolen earlier from Fraternity Village Store in Searsmont.
Whalen was apprehended after an Appleton volunteer firefighter followed the suspected stolen vehicle from the store and alerted police.
Knox County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. James Moore stated in an affidavit filed in Rockland District Court that Whalen was apprehended by Thomaston Police Sgt. Timothy Hoppe after Hoppe caught up with the vehicle as it pulled into a driveway on Oyster River Road in Warren.
Whalen attempted to flee but was stopped by Hoppe after a brief chase, according to the affidavit.
Whalen was charged with operating under the influence, operating after suspension, theft, and refusing to submit to arrest. The vehicle was owned by Coastal Blueberry Service Inc. of Ellsworth.
A passenger in the pick-up truck that police said Whalen stole also was arrested. Hilary Long, 27, of Rockland was charged with theft and had one active arrest warrant. Deputies Nathaniel Jack and Lance Mitchell apprehended her after she ran into the woods, according to police.
When Whalen was apprehended, officers found there were outstanding warrants for him, issued March 7, in connection with a home invasion on Jan. 7 in Rockland. The warrants had not been served because police had not been able to locate Whalen. Charges connected to the warrants were aggravated criminal trespass, assault, tampering with a witness and terrorizing.
An affidavit filed by Rockland police in that case indicate that an officer was on patrol at 2:30 a.m. on Jan. 7 when he saw a man and a woman dressed only in their underwear running down South Main Street.
The woman told officers that Whalen and another man had entered their residence and that Whalen had demanded money from the male resident and then punched him. She told officers that Whalen said he was owed money. The second man to enter the home spoke to police to explain why he was there, according to the affidavit, but there was no indication that he was charged.
The woman said Whalen later called her on the telephone and warned her not to say anything further about the incident or he would “come back and beat her so she couldn’t see or talk,” according to the affidavit.
Whalen appeared in Rockland District Court Friday. Assistant District Attorney Jeffrey Baroody asked that bail be set at $10,000 cash because of the seriousness of the crimes and because of Whalen’s extensive criminal record.
Defense attorney Lawrence Frier asked for $2,000 cash bail, saying that Whalen had been steadily employed and had last worked as a heavy equipment operator in Rockland.
Judge Susan Sparaco set bail at $5,000 cash for Whalen, who remained at the Knox County Jail on Friday.
Sparaco ordered Long held without bail.