May 26, 2018
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Judge rejects Rockland man’s effort to get back jewels police say were stolen

By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff

ROCKLAND, Maine — A judge has rejected a Rockland man’s request to return jewelry to him that police say he admitted had been stolen.

Justice Jeffrey Hjelm issued a ruling Dec. 10 denying the request by 38-year-old David A. Carver of Rockland to have police return the jewelry.

Hjelm pointed out that Carver was not claiming police illegally seized the jewelry from him but instead was insisting that the continued retention of the goods was illegal. The judge said since Carver was not challenging the seizure of the jewelry, there was no law that would allow him to order the return of the items.

Carver was arrested in October 2011 on a series of charges, including assault on an officer and drug possession. After pleading guilty to multiple charges, he was sentenced to 30 months in prison and since has been released.

At the time of his arrest, police said Carver told them that the jewelry he had on him as well as more jewelry 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.

Police then obtained a search warrant for Carver’s home and seized additional jewelry. After an investigation, however, police were not able to find any reports of thefts or burglaries involving the jewelry. Since the owners could not be found, Carver was not charged in connection with the possession of stolen goods, police said.

Carver since has denied telling police that the items had been stolen. His attorney William Pagnano argued before Hjelm during a hearing on Dec. 3 in Knox County Superior Court that since Carver had not been charged, the jewelry should be returned to him.

Assistant District Attorney Christopher Fernald argued at the hearing that the objects still could be considered evidence because the statute of limitations for possible theft charges had not expired.

Police said 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,” Detective Sgt. Chris Young said earlier this month.

When lost belongings are not claimed, the department will put a notice in the newspaper to try to find the owners. In this case, however, 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 assumed that they lost the jewelry and not reported the thefts to police.

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