MILLINOCKET, Maine — Several town residents could be charged with harboring a fugitive who faces cocaine sale and possession charges filed in Georgia, officials said Friday.
Heather Renee Gilmore, 22, was being held without bail on a fugitive from justice charge at Kennebec County Jail on Friday. She turned herself in to police on Tuesday after friends and family harbored her at homes on Kelly Lane and Central, Cherry and Congress streets in Millinocket since December, officials said.
Gilmore is wanted in Gwinnett County, Georgia, on failure to appear in court on felony possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and possession of marijuana charges. The original arrest occurred May 28, 2013, said Ken Barr, a fugitive investigator for Northeast Surety Bail Bonds.
Barr began looking for Gilmore after she missed a court appearance on April 8. He called Deputy Police Chief Janet Theriault on Monday after he learned that Gilmore was staying with an aunt in town. It’s not the first time Barr has had to search more than 1,300 road miles, the distance between Millinocket and Gilmore’s hometown of Norcross, in search of a fugitive, he said.
“It happens quite frequently,” Barr said Friday. “I wouldn’t say that she was difficult to locate and apprehend. It makes it more difficult when people like her have friends and family who disregard the law and help them eat when they don’t have a job or drive them around in their cars. That makes it much more difficult.”
In Maine, hindering apprehension or prosecution, which Theriault said is the charge Gilmore’s friends and family could face, would be a Class C or D crime that would carry a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment. The incident remains under investigation.
Theriault said that she and Sgt. Gary Lakeman knocked on several doors around Millinocket on Tuesday and learned that Gilmore was staying at several addresses around town and was aware that police were after her.
“She had even changed her Facebook identity and was now presenting herself as Lala Renee Jones,” Theriault said in a statement.
The officers learned at one stop that they had probably come within a few hours of catching Gilmore, who was traveling with two friends to Vassalboro with the ultimate aim of temporarily residing in Augusta. Gilmore already had telephone conversations with Barr, including one on May 9, when she promised to use a bus ticket he arranged for her to travel to Georgia to face the charges. She never picked it up, Theriault said.
Barr telephoned Vassalboro and Augusta police and followed leads to several of Gilmore’s friends that Theriault provided. He convinced Gilmore’s friends that they needed to pressure Gilmore into surrendering, or they might face charges themselves. Theriault’s aid made that possible, Barr said.
“It’s very rare to get that cooperation, but she was extremely on the ball and was there when I needed her,” Barr said of Theriault. “Within 12 hours of Gilmore knowing she was being looked for, we got her to surrender. That’s very rare. And we made her circle of friends and resources smaller.”
Gilmore is due to appear in Kennebec County Superior Court in Augusta on June 5. If Gilmore fights extradition, Georgia police will likely apply for a governor’s warrant to have her extradited, Barr said.