ROCKLAND, Maine — A 38-year-old Rockland man who was convicted of assaulting two city officers during a drug-fueled crime spree is asking the court to order police to return jewelry confiscated from him even though investigators say he admitted the items were stolen.
David A. Carver appeared in Knox County Superior Court before Justice Jeffrey Hjelm Tuesday asking that the property be returned to him. His attorney William Pagnano said his client denies telling police that the jewelry was stolen.
Assistant District Attorney Christopher Fernald said that the state objects to the return of the property. He said the only reason Carver was not charged is that the state has been unable to find the victims who may have had the jewelry stolen.
Fernald said the objects still could be considered evidence because the statute of limitations for possible theft charges have not expired.
Rockland Police Detective Sgt. Chris Young said Tuesday that most of the items are pieces of costume jewelry with little monetary value, though some are gold-plated.
“There are no queen jewels by any stretch of the imagination,” the detective sergeant said.
Carver was arrested in October 2011 on Main Street in Rockland.
Carver pleaded guilty to assault on an officer for knocking down Officer William Smith and then repeatedly striking him in the head with his fists to the point that the officer said he feared he was going to lose consciousness. Carver also pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault against Rockland Police Sgt. Kenneth Smith, refusing to submit to arrest, two counts of drug possession and three counts of violating his bail conditions.
He was sentenced to 30 months in jail but has since been released.
Detective Sgt. Young said Tuesday that when Carver was apprehended in 2011 he told officers that the jewelry he had on him as well as more jewelry back at his residence had been obtained from two or three other people who had stolen the items. Carver told police that he was planning to sell the jewelry to shops that pay for gold.
The department investigated but was not able to find any reports of thefts or burglaries involving the jewelry.
When lost belongings are not claimed, the department will put a notice in the newspaper to try to find the owners. In this case, since the items were believed stolen, that has not yet been done. Young said the items may have been stolen one at a time from vehicles and the owners may have simply figured that they lost the costume jewelry and not reported the thefts to police.
Under questioning by Justice Hjelm, Pagnano acknowledged that he was not challenging the legality of the search warrant obtained by Rockland police that led to the seizure of the items. Pagnano said, however, that the audio tape in which Carver was questioned by police is of poor quality and no incriminating comments by Carver can be heard.
Pagnano said his client maintains the jewelry is his but he does not have paperwork to show he purchased the items.
Hjelm said he would take the matter under advisement.