Sentencing delayed for Sanford man convicted of stealing cigarettes, lottery ticket dispenser from Corinth store

Posted July 30, 2013, at 11:38 a.m.
Michael Chapman
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BANGOR, Maine — The sentencing of a Sanford man who was part of a quartet accused of backing a stolen pickup truck into the front doors of a Corinth convenience store, taking cigarettes and a lottery ticket dispenser and later setting the truck on fire to cover up the crimes was delayed Tuesday.

Michael W. Chapman, 38, was convicted in April by a Penobscot County jury on one one count each of arson, burglary, aggravated criminal mischief and theft by unauthorized taking.

In June, Superior Court Justice William Anderson granted a defense motion to set aside the arson conviction. Penobscot County District Attorney Christopher Almy appealed that decision to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

A question arose Tuesday as to whether Chapman can be sentenced on the other charges while the appeal on the arson charge is pending.

Chapman has been held at the Penobscot County Jail unable to post $5,000 cash bail for a year, his attorney Seth Harrow of Bangor told Anderson on Tuesday. Harrow asked that bail be lowered to $500.

Because he has not been sentenced on the remaining charges, all Class C crimes, Chapman is unable to earn good time while awaiting sentencing. He faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 on the remaining charges, Almy said.

Anderson on Tuesday ordered that Chapman’s bail remain the same. The judge also asked Harrow and Almy submit briefs within seven days on why the law allows Chapman to be sentenced on the Class C charges while the appeal is pending.

Almy told Anderson that he would recommend the maximum sentence of five years due to Chapman’s criminal history. Harrow said that he would urge Anderson to impose a lesser sentence.

A new sentencing date is not expected to be set until after Anderson reviews the briefs.

Robert L. Mason, 28, of Corinna and Rosemary Peterson, 26, and Clifford John Sprague, 34, both of Exeter, were indicted on the same charges on which Chapman was tried. Their cases are pending, according to the Penobscot County district attorney’s office.

The stolen lottery tickets led investigators to the quartet, who went to Auburn to redeem them, according to a previously published report. All four were arrested within hours of the early morning break-in June 22, 2012, at the store, owned by A.E. Robinson.

Sprague, Peterson and Mason were arrested at a house in Auburn where lottery tickets were found in Sprague’s van and cartons of cigarettes were found hidden in a washing machine, Harrow told the jury in his opening statement.

Chapman was arrested at a house in Levant where he was staying.

The 2002 GMC Sierra pickup truck used in the burglary was reported stolen from Kaufman Motors in Corinna a few days before it was crashed into the store. Shortly after the break-in, the truck was found ablaze at the intersection of Black Road and West Corinth Road, police said in June 2012.

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