PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — A former local man who was convicted of several charges in 1999, served time but fled the state before he completed the terms of his probation has been arrested after eight years as a fugitive thanks to the work of a Presque Isle police officer.
Presque Isle Police Chief Matt Irwin said that Officer Ryan Eagles used a computer to track down John Vaillancourt, 48, on Tuesday, at a residence in Florida. Vaillancourt has been arrested for being a fugitive from justice.
According to court records, Vaillancourt was convicted of robbery, burglary, criminal restraint, assault and theft stemming from an incident involving an elderly Presque Isle woman. He was sentenced in June 1999.
Vaillancourt tied the woman up, took money from her purse and stole her car.
The victim said during the trial that she was awakened around midnight by a noise outside. Vaillancourt had severed the telephone lines and forced his way inside.
She described how Vaillancourt “pushed” her around. At one point, one of her teeth was knocked out. There were bruises left on her wrists and elbows, the woman said. Later, he tied her up and covered her with a bedsheet.
After he left, she was able to free herself and turn on the house lights to attract attention.
Vaillancourt said that he was at the Northern Maine Fair in Presque Isle the night of the crime and had consumed quite a bit of liquor. He claimed he had suffered a blackout and didn’t remember the actions he took against the elderly woman.
Vaillancourt had performed odd jobs for the woman and knew she lived alone, according to the prosecutor.
Police said he was later released on probation but after failing to live up to his conditions of release, an arrest warrant was issued. He fled the state in 2006.
Eagles recently initiated a search for Vaillancourt after reviewing an outstanding warrant list. He was located and arrested by police in Key West, Fla., and will likely be extradited to Maine to face additional charges in the next 30 days.