ATKINSON, Maine — A game warden’s suspicions when he saw a man on an all-terrain vehicle on a camp road helped lead to the arrest of a local man for burglary, theft, criminal mischief and attempted arson.
Christopher Bessler, 20, is expected to make his initial court appearance on the charges in Dover-Foxcroft District Court on Jan. 25.
Warden Jeremy Kemp had been on a detail on Levenseller Road in Atkinson on Nov. 22 when he observed the ATV rider, according to Investigator Dave Wilson of the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Department. Kemp, who stopped the driver and got his identification, noticed the man was carrying bolt cutters and an antenna on the vehicle, he said.
Kemp then checked on the camps on the road and found one of them broken into. He called Wilson, who responded to the scene. Wilson said the camp had been ransacked and evidence showed that fuel had been poured onto a couch and on an all-terrain vehicle that was in a storage shed. Police believe that Bessler heard Kemp’s vehicle and left the camp before he could allegedly ignite the fuel. State Fire Marshal Stewart Jacobs went to the scene and confirmed that arson had been attempted.
Wilson said the antenna Bessler had on his vehicle had been taken from the ransacked camp.
“Without Jeremy or the warden service being on the ball, this might have gone as an unsolved crime,” Wilson said.
As requested by Wilson, Trooper Marc Poulin, a trained evidence recovery technician, gathered evidence and took it to the crime laboratory where it will be tested for DNA.
There may be further charges against Bessler as the investigation continues, Wilson said.