June 18, 2018
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Ohio man arrested twice during ‘rough 48 hours’ with five law enforcement agencies

Robert Harper
By Mario Moretto, BDN Staff

ELLSWORTH, Maine — It might be a new record.

An Ohio man who has been living in Tremont since March showed up on the radars of five law enforcement agencies over a 48-hour period that ended with his arrest Monday night. All told, he faces five charges from three different agencies.

His final encounter with police ended with his arrest Monday night, after which he was brought to Hancock County Jail in Ellsworth, where he remained as of Tuesday evening.

The series of events started at about 2:46 p.m. Sunday, when a caller told Bar Harbor police that a man inside a car at the Mira Monte Inn on Mt. Desert Street was “making skidmarks in the crushed gravel and [throwing] beer bottles out of his vehicle,” said Lori Bartlett, a Bar Harbor dispatcher.

An officer responded and charged the driver, Robert Harper, 52, of Grove City, Ohio, with operating under the influence. Harper posted $560 bail and was released.

Then on Monday, around 12:50 p.m., Harper was picked up by police in Brewer, where “he created a scene” that caused police to send him to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor for evaluation, said Hancock County Sheriff’s deputy Chris Thornton.

He was charged by Brewer police with violating conditions of release, based on evidence he had consumed alcohol earlier in the day. A prohibition on possessing or consuming alcohol is a standard condition of bail on an OUI charge.

Harper’s girlfriend, who drove him to Brewer on Monday, called the state police after Harper was detained in Brewer, and requested a “cease-harassment notice,” Thornton said. State troopers had a Bangor police officer issue the notice around 6 p.m., while Harper was still at EMMC.

That notice does not prevent Harper from contacting his girlfriend, but warns him against “harassing, tormenting or threatening” her, Thornton said.

After Harper was released from EMMC, he took a cab back to the home on McMullen Avenue in Tremont that he shares with the girlfriend. He arrived just before 9 p.m., Thornton said.

Soon afterward, a neighbor called the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office to report hearing yelling and loud banging at the apartment building. Meanwhile, Harper’s girlfriend also called police to report Harper was violently trying to make his way into the locked apartment.

“He booted through the front door, and broke through a side pane of glass to get to the lock on a second door,” Thornton said. “At that point, [the girlfriend] let him in.”

Thornton arrived moments later, and charged Harper with criminal mischief and a second count of violating conditions of release. Thornton said an additional charge of theft of services is pending against Harper for allegedly stiffing the cab driver out of $105 for his ride from Bangor to Tremont.

Harper told police that he was simply trying to get into his apartment so that he could gather his belongings. While “there was no mechanism in place that prevented him from entering the residence,” Thornton said, destroying property constitutes a criminal mischief charge.

“Mr. Harper had a rough 48 hours,” Thornton said Tuesday. “The concerning issue here is his increasingly volatile behavior and the frequency of contact with law enforcement. That causes concern for us, particularly with all the domestic violence issues we see on a daily basis.”

Follow Mario Moretto on Twitter at @riocarmine.

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