The handcuffed man accused of stealing a Dexter police cruiser in May was indicted Wednesday on unrelated charges for allegedly stealing a car in January.
A Penobscot County grand jury indicted Tyler D. Tibbetts, 22, on two counts of theft by unauthorized taking, driving after his license was revoked and attaching false plates, according to the Penobscot County District Attorney’s office.
Those charges stem from an incident in January, when Tibbetts allegedly confessed to a Maine State Police trooper that he stole a woman’s car, crashed it and then ditched it roadside in Dexter, said assistant district attorney Marianne Lynch.
That incident is unrelated to the sequence of events last month when Tibbetts allegedly stole two more vehicles — including a police cruiser — and led police on a high-speed chase that ended when he crashed the stolen car and got pinned in the wreckage.
On the morning of May 11, a Dexter police officer went to Tibbetts’ girlfriend’s house looking for Tibbetts because there was a warrant for his arrest on an alleged probation violation.
The cop placed Tibbetts in the back seat of his marked Ford Explorer cruiser, leaving the keys in the ignition in order to keep the air conditioning on while he went back inside the house to talk to Tibbetts’ girlfriend. That’s when Tibbetts allegedly wrangled his cuffed hands to the front of his body, squirreled through the 11-inch by 11-inch partition window into the front seat and drove off in the cruiser.
He allegedly ditched it about 3 miles away in Garland, where police from multiple agencies hunted for him over the course of a few hours. Around 2 p.m., police say they saw him driving another car — later determined to be stolen — and pursued him at high speed until Tibbetts reportedly lost control and crashed on Route 15 in Dover-Foxcroft.
A LifeLight medical helicopter flew Tibbetts to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, where he spent three days before he was taken to the Penobscot County Jail and held without bail.
That case is expected to go before a July grand jury, Lynch said. Tibbetts has been charged with a slew of crimes related to the May incident, including two felony counts for theft, eluding an officer and several reckless driving counts. Some of the driving charges were elevated to felonies because Tibbetts’ license had been revoked for a prior OUI conviction from 2017, Lynch said.
A dispositional hearing has been set for July 3 to review both the May and January cases.
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