ELLSWORTH, Maine — A Swan’s Island man has been sentenced to serve three years behind bars after pleading guilty to 30 criminal charges in connection with a one-day vandalism spree last winter on Mount Desert Island.
James Lemoine, 19, helped cause a total of $127,126 in damage to several waterfront homes on Long Pond in Mount Desert last January. One house had nearly $40,000 in damage after a fire extinguisher was discharged inside and windows, furniture, walls, doors, door frames, wooden handrails, fixtures and dishes were smashed.
Lemoine was sentenced Tuesday morning in Hancock County Superior Court to an overall prison term of eight years with all but three suspended. Justice Kevin Cuddy also ordered Lemoine to pay $8,644 in restitution and to serve three years of supervised probation upon his release.
Two other people also have been linked to the vandalism spree. One of them, Roman Cook, 19, of Swan’s Island, has been charged with nine counts each of burglary and aggravated criminal mischief and three counts of theft, but remains in custody at Hancock County Jail in Ellsworth. According to Carletta Bassano, deputy district attorney for Hancock County, Cook’s bail was revoked after an arrest in June in Lincoln County on unrelated theft charges.
A 17-year-old boy has pleaded guilty to contributing to the damage on Long Pond and is serving time at a juvenile detention facility, Bassano said Tuesday.
Lemoine’s defense attorney, Ronald McMullen of Ellsworth, did not immediately return a message left at his office early Tuesday afternoon.
According to police, Lemoine, Cook and the boy had been ice fishing on Long Pond on Jan. 18 when they allegedly broke into a nearby home on Northern Neck, a peninsula that juts into Long Pond. The trio then allegedly burglarized a dozen other nearby homes, often forcing their way in and causing damage inside, police have indicated.
Police were contacted when a caretaker later discovered damage at two of the homes. Police tracked footsteps in the snow outside the homes to an ice-fishing tent on Long Pond, where they found a receipt for a fishing license that they say had been purchased by Cook at the Wal-Mart in Ellsworth.
After obtaining a search warrant, police matched a footprint in one of the houses to a pair of boots owned by Lemoine.
Bassano said that Lemoine does not have a prior criminal history and that he appears to have been a follower more than an instigator in the destructive spree. She said the restitution order, imposed by the court, reflects the total deductibles that the affected homeowners had to pay for their insurance coverage and the likelihood that Lemoine would be able to repay the remaining $118,000 paid out by the insurance companies in claims.
“I don’t have any information that he is anything else [but a follower],” she said. “He jumped into the deep end of the pool with this type of behavior. It’s an appropriate sentence.”