Day after allegedly leading police on chase, Camden man charged in Thomaston home burglary

Posted April 01, 2013, at 11:56 a.m.
Last modified April 01, 2013, at 5 p.m.

THOMASTON, Maine — A couple was arrested Friday evening and charged with breaking into a home after visiting it earlier to look at a car for sale by the homeowner, police say.

The arrest came a day after police said the man eluded them by driving at a high speed on a quarry-lined road with two young children in his vehicle.

Benjamin Rankin, 23, and Amanda Secotte, 24, both of Camden were arrested late Friday afternoon and charged with burglary, theft and criminal trespass, according to Knox County Jail records.

Rankin remains at the Knox County Jail in Rockland. He made his initial court appearance Monday afternoon where bail was set at $5,000 cash by Judge Susan Sparaco. Secotte was released from jail Monday morning on $5,000 unsecured bail.

According to Thomaston Police Chief Kevin Haj, a homeowner on Beechwood Street came home and found the door to her house open and several items missing, including a safe and a flat-screen television.

The homeowner had reported that earlier in the day a young woman had come to her house, saying she wanted to look at a car that was for sale. The homeowner had mentioned to the woman that she was soon going into town.

An employee at the nearby Brooks Mill told police that she witnessed a young woman and a young man going into the home and loading items into a green Jeep and then leaving, heading north on Beechwood Street.

Knox County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Paul Spear stopped the vehicle on Route 17 and the pair were arrested.

Police had obtained an arrest warrant for Rankin earlier that day in connection with an incident that occurred Thursday afternoon. Spear stated in an affidavit that he was on patrol on Main Street in Thomaston when he spotted Rankin driving a vehicle.

Aware that Rankin’s license had been revoked, Spear said he followed Rankin. After Rankin turned onto Old County Road, the deputy activated his blue lights and the driver pulled over. Spear went to the vehicle and talked to the driver who denied he was Rankin and claimed to be someone else, according to the affidavit. As the deputy returned to his cruiser to check his computer for a photo of Rankin, Rankin sped off on Old County Road, Spear stated. In addition to Rankin, Secotte was in the passenger seat and two young children were in the back seat, according to the affidavit.

The deputy pursued Rankin’s vehicle but the suspect managed to get away by passing vehicles four or five at a time and forcing one oncoming vehicle off the road, Spear wrote.

When apprehended later, Rankin was charged with eluding an officer, aggravated operating after revocation, endangering the welfare of a child, driving to endanger, and failure to give correct name.

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