JAY, Maine — Detective Richard Caton IV had only one lead, a phone call, and he followed it until he found 19 stolen firearms that were recovered within 24 hours in January 2012.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of Maine recognized Caton, 32, of Wilton for his “outstanding contribution” and presented him with the National Crime Victims Rights Week 2013 Law Enforcement Award. The award was presented Thursday in Bangor.
He was commended for conducting an “expeditious investigation” and keeping the 19 guns, including 10 semiautomatic weapons, out of the hands of others.
Special Agent Christopher Durkin of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also received the award for his work on the Jay case.
“I was very pleased. I was not expecting this whatsoever. I was just doing my job,” Caton said Tuesday.
The firearms, plus a muzzleloader and a crossbow, were stolen from a Walker Hill Road home in Jay on Jan. 26, 2012.
Jay police Cpl. Jeffrey Fournier responded to the initial call of a burglary, and Caton joined him. The homeowner had received a phone call while at work from another party and informed police.
Caton and Fournier went to a Pleasant Drive home to talk to the person who made the call, Caton said. The first two times, nobody was home but Caton noticed some rolls of coins in a truck and a chain saw behind the back seat. A bucket of change and a chain saw were stolen from the Walker Hill home.
Caton said the serial numbers on the saw matched those on the stolen one.
Later, Roger Briscoe, 34, of New Sharon and his girlfriend, Heather Gatcomb, 34, of Jay, arrived home and police, with a search warrant, found the stolen guns, change and saw, Caton said.
Briscoe was convicted in January in federal court and sentenced to 27 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release. Gatcomb was charged earlier this year on a count of receiving stolen firearms.
“It was just one of those cases that fell into place,” Caton said.
He comes from a law enforcement background. His father, the late Richard Caton III, was Farmington police chief for several years and his mother, Melinda, is supervisor of the Franklin County Dispatch Center.
“I like to figure out how things work and happen,” the detective said. “I enjoy the investigation itself and being able to figure out who did it and how or why it happened.”
He initially planned to be a game warden.
“I went into college, not in a law enforcement field. I was undecided until I talked to a criminal justice professor,” he said.
It was the thought of talking about crime scenes and processing them that had him leaning toward becoming a warden, he said. After an internship with the warden service, he said, he decided he would rather not work at what he loved to do, hunt and fish.
He graduated from the University of Maine at Presque Isle with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. He started his law enforcement career in Jay, went to Wilton as a detective and came back to Jay as a detective five years ago.