LEWISTON, Maine — Two weeks ago, a judge apologized to burglary suspect Dan Ouellette, saying the Lewiston man had “slipped through the cracks” while lingering at the county jail for nearly a year.
The 49-year-old Ouellette was promptly set free, but he was back behind bars Wednesday after police in Lewiston arrested him on a charge of violating probation.
Before he was set free in late July, Ouellette had spent more than 10 months in the Androscoggin County Jail, held on a probation violation stemming from a string of burglary charges.
In Androscoggin County Superior Court on July 31, Justice MaryGay Kennedy told Ouellette “You slipped through the cracks… I wish you the best of luck. Actually, I hope I never seen you again.”
Kennedy sentenced him to time served and a year of probation.
Ouellette was free exactly 14 days before he was arrested again. Police said Ouellette gave probation officials a bogus address.When a probation officer went to see him, Ouellette was nowhere to be found, police said.
The incorrect address constitutes a violation of probation conditions set by the court. A “be on the lookout” bulletin was issued for Ouellette and, just before noon Wednesday, officers spotted him walking up Main Street.
Police said Ouellette was carrying a box of rubber gloves when he was arrested. On Thursday, he remained jailed, adding to the substantial chunk of his life already spent behind bars.
In November 2011, Ouellette broke into Bessey Insurance offices in Buckfield, prying open a lockbox and taking cash, according to Assistant District Attorney Andrew Matulis.
He was also charged with breaking into the Hebron Town Hall to steal a safe, and was charged with stealing cash from the American Mortgage Building in Turner that month, Matulis said.
In April 2012, he was charged with prying open a door at H&R Block in Lewiston and taking money from a safe. A month later, he broke a door at Creative Expressions in Lewiston and took a cash register, Matulis said.
Ouellette admitted to the crimes.
Matulis was seeking a sentence of seven years in prison with all but three years suspended, plus three years of probation for two of the burglaries. Each of those Class B crimes is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
For the other three burglaries, Matulis asked for maximum sentences of five years for each with all but three years suspended, plus two years of probation. Each sentence would run at the same time, he said. Matulis also asked the judge for restitution to repay the businesses for their lost cash and damages.
Kennedy ordered Ouellette to pay $100 restitution to each of the five victims.
Matulis cited Ouellette’s prior criminal convictions dating back to the early 1980s, including at least eight burglaries and several thefts.
Twice married with a 30-year-old daughter, Ouellette is a loner, according to his attorney, Donald Hornblower. Ouellette has borderline personality disorder, suffering from a sense of abandonment along with a host of other mental and physical health problems, Hornblower said.
Ouellette started self-medicating when he was 14 and soon ran afoul of the law. He completed high school and one semester of college.
Ouellette was most successful when he worked at the Sugarloaf ski resort, living in the Farmington area, away from the negative influences of an urban setting, Hornblower said. Ouellette hopes to finish college and become financially independent.