LINCOLN, Maine — A Mattanawcook Academy student already suspended for an unrelated incident is suspected of damaging the school’s football field with a stolen pickup truck about 16 hours before the team’s home opener, police said Friday.
The 15-year-old will be summoned on criminal mischief and unauthorized use of property charges after police said he took a Toyota Tacoma from a south Lincoln home, rutted the football field with it, and then returned it to the home from which it was taken.
“He just drove up one way and back down the field,” said David Ham, director of facilities at RSU 67, which serves Chester, Lincoln and Mattawamkeag. “We just rolled the field and tamped the ruts out. Obviously it is pretty useless to try to grow grass at this time of year.”
“It looks like very minor damage,” said Dan Summers, Lincoln’s public safety director.
The repairs cost about $750, Summers said. Maybe 5 percent of the field was damaged by tire tracks. Ham said he is trying to buy sod to repair the damage.
The Lynx still will play Washington Academy in their home opener at 7 p.m. Friday, Ham said.
Investigators, Summers said, haven’t yet determined whether the incident was a prank or vengeance for the suspension. RSU 67 Superintendent Raymond Freve did not immediately return messages seeking comment.
The 15-year-old recently completed juvenile probation for some offense and apparently has a record of some length with juvenile court authorities, Summers said.
“He is quite well known to them,” Summers said.
Officer Jay Hallett and Detective Mark Fucile used video taken from a downtown video camera and tire measurements to link the Tacoma, which was reported burglarized at a south Lincoln home at 3 a.m. Friday, to the vandalism, which was reported 5½ hours later, Summers said.
The video showed the pickup truck coming through downtown about 2 a.m. from Enfield Road onto Lee Road — possibly to avoid driving by the public safety building on 1 Adams St. — before apparently heading to the high school, Summers said.
The vehicle then was seen heading from Lee Road onto Main Street about 2:30 a.m. The drive then turned onto West Broadway, Summers said.
“He said he put gas in it at that point,” Summers said of the pickup truck. “This may have happened more than once because the complainants said they had noticed gas missing from the vehicle. They thought the gas gauge was reading lower than it should have been.”
The town worker suspected that the truck had been burglarized when her dogs barked at the truck, Summers said. She might have seen the suspect leaving it.
The truck’s keys were apparently in the truck’s center console, Summers said.
The youth is due to appear in Lincoln District Court on Oct. 8, Summers said.