After complaining about bad meat, South China man facing drug charges in Belfast, Bangor

Posted Sept. 16, 2013, at 6:55 p.m.

BELFAST, Maine — Police arrested a man from the central Maine town of South China late last week and charged him with two felony counts of acquiring drugs by deception.

Detective Sgt. Bryan Cunningham of the Belfast Police Department said Monday that John Tyler, 65, came to the attention of police earlier this summer after he roused the suspicions of personnel at the Belfast Hannaford when he allegedly sought reimbursement — twice — for bad meat.

The first time that a man by the name of “John Benton” complained about the $36.50 worth of bad meat he said he had purchased there, employees of the store on July 7 reimbursed him with a gift card for that amount, according to Cunningham. But on July 9, when he came back and said that he had purchased more bad meat that ruined his potatoes and vegetables, to the tune of $90, store officials tracked him with surveillance cameras all the way to his car. They reported the matter to police, who were able to make out the license plate and find the name of the owner. From there, they found the owner’s driver’s license photo, which matched the man from the surveillance camera photos.

It wasn’t John Benton, Cunningham said, but rather John Tyler. Police said the South China man also picked up prescriptions for painkillers written out for “John Benton” each time he came to the Belfast store. Investigating police found that he had been prescribed those drugs at Waldo County General Hospital, where medical personnel refused his alleged efforts to obtain more drugs on July 11.

Cunningham said that Tyler reportedly then sought drugs from St. Joseph’s Hospital in Bangor, but a doctor there also works at the Belfast hospital and remembered the patient. The doctor called the Bangor Police Department, which charged Tyler with attempting to acquire drugs by deception. Belfast police issued a warrant for Tyler’s arrest, and on Sept. 12 police picked him up in Kennebec County and charged him with acquiring drugs by deception and also with two counts of theft by deception. The theft charges are related to Tyler’s allegedly seeking reimbursement for the bad meat, which Cunningham said never existed in the first place.

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