WISCASSET, Maine — A Kennebec County man was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty June 26 to burglarizing two Jefferson homes on Nov. 10, 2013.
Stephen L. Dingus, 32, of Hallowell, also has to pay $1,092 in restitution to his victims within a year of his release.
Dingus kicked in doors at 519 Rockland Road (Route 17) and 290 Valley Road on Sunday morning, Nov. 10, 2013, according to a report by Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Detective Scott Hayden. Dingus stole cash and jewelry from the Valley Road residence.
A neighbor to the Valley Road residence saw a 1990s-era maroon Chevrolet Lumina with a broken rear driver’s side window covered with cardboard pull into the residence and remain there for some time on the morning in question, Hayden said in his report.
The distinctive description of the vehicle would help authorities nab their suspects.
Two days later, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office responded to a home invasion in Chesterville. A 17-year-old girl was home alone at the time, according to the Sun Journal. Dingus broke in and fled upon seeing the girl. The girl called police and described the man and the car — a maroon Lumina.
A local animal control officer followed the vehicle and obtained a license plate number, which helped police identify James W. Dingus and his nephew, Stephen L. Dingus, as suspects in both cases.
Franklin County Detective Ken Charles obtained a search warrant for James Dingus’ cellphone while investigating the home invasion. Cellphone records placed the phone in the vicinity of Valley Road in Jefferson at 9:28 a.m. on the day of the burglaries.
Security camera footage from Peaslee’s Quick Stop in Jefferson also placed the car in the area.
Maine State Police arrested James Dingus and Stephen Dingus in Augusta on Nov. 14. Stephen Dingus jumped from a second-story window in an attempt to flee, according to the Bangor Daily News. The Lumina was in the garage at their Augusta apartment.
James Dingus and Stephen Dingus denied burglarizing the Jefferson residences to police, Hayden said.
James Dingus acknowledged that he had been in the area and had dropped off Stephen Dingus at or near the two residences — once to inquire about a job and once to urinate.
He told police he did not know what else Stephen Dingus might have done while he was outside the car.
Stephen Dingus’ sneakers matched shoe prints on the doors of the residences, Hayden said.
Stephen Dingus pleaded guilty to two counts of Class B burglary, a felony, in Lincoln County Superior Court in Wiscasset on June 26, according to court documents. The state dismissed misdemeanor charges of criminal mischief and theft by unauthorized taking.
He was sentenced to three years in prison for each of the burglaries. The sentences will run concurrently with a 4½-year sentence for the Chesterville burglary.
James Dingus faces the same burglary, criminal mischief, and theft charges, as well as a misdemeanor charge of operating after suspension. He is due to appear in Lincoln County Superior Court at 1 p.m., Monday, Aug. 4.
He pleaded guilty to burglary in the Chesterville case on June 27 and received a three-year sentence with all but nine months suspended and two years of probation, according to the Sun Journal.