Sanford man sentenced to 2 years in prison for smash-and-grab burglary at Corinth store

Posted Oct. 11, 2013, at 2:32 p.m.
Last modified Oct. 11, 2013, at 4:49 p.m.
Michael Chapman during his trial at the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor in April.
Michael Chapman during his trial at the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor in April. Buy Photo

BANGOR, Maine — 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 sentenced Friday to 3½ years in prison with all but two years suspended.

Michael W. Chapman, 38, was convicted in April by a Penobscot County jury on 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 date for oral arguments has not been set.

In addition to prison time, Anderson sentenced Chapman to two years of probation and ordered him to pay $1,000 in restitution to the A.E. Robinson store for damage done during the burglary. Chapman must pay that amount, which is the amount the store owner paid that was not covered by insurance, along with other defendants.

In sentencing Chapman, Anderson called the burglary “brazen and outrageous.”

“I think that outrageous burglaries like this do make the public more insecure,” the judge said.

Chapman, who did not address the judge Friday, has been held at the Penobscot County Jail unable to post $5,000 cash bail for a year, according to a previously published report.

He faced up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 on the remaining charges. Michael Roberts, deputy district attorney for Penobscot County, recommended Chapman be sentenced to four years in prison. Defense attorney Seth Harrow urged Anderson to impose a sentence of one year, or the time he has been held unable to make bail.

Robert L. Mason, 28, of Corinna, Rosemary Peterson, 26, of Palmyra and Clifford John Sprague, 34, of Exeter were indicted on the same charges on which Chapman was tried.

Peterson pleaded guilty Monday on the fourth day of her jury trial to one count each of burglary and theft, both Class C crimes. In a plea agreement with Almy, she was sentenced to two years in prison with all but nine months suspended, and the arson and aggravated criminal mischief charges were dismissed.

She was ordered to begin serving her sentence on Oct. 21.

Sprague, who has remained jailed unable to make bail, has pleaded guilty to all the charges but has not been sentenced. Charges against Mason are pending.

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.

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. Testimony at Robinson’s trial showed the money from the lottery tickets was used to buy crack cocaine.

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 and West Corinth roads, police said in June 2012.

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