DAMARISCOTTA, Maine — Police allegedly seized an estimated $50,000 to $60,000 worth of high-end power tools and other merchandise they say a man stole while working at Damariscotta Hardware and Randolph Hardware.
Albert W. Lawrence, 31, of Randolph faces a single count of Class B theft by unauthorized taking or transfer, a felony. More charges are likely, according agencies.
Lawrence was an employee of Damariscotta Hardware from 2010 until March, according to Damariscotta police. He worked in management at Damariscotta Hardware and Randolph Hardware, a sister store that opened in June 2015, and had access to the buildings after hours. He now works for Bath Iron Works.
Damariscotta Hardware contacted police in March to report a possible theft, according to Damariscotta Officer Erick Halpin, and last month, the store provided police with a long list of missing items.
On Monday morning, seven officers from Damariscotta and Kennebec County law-enforcement agencies executed a search warrant at Lawrence’s home, where they allegedly found many of the missing items — and many similar items — in a locked two-car garage.
For more than four hours, the officers inventoried and seized the items, according to Damariscotta police. The merchandise filled two pickup trucks and a roughly 20-foot trailer, according to police.
Kennebec County Sheriff Ryan Reardon said one of his investigators estimated the total value of the items at $50,000 to $60,000. He said investigators found “a lot more” than they anticipated.
Lawrence was arrested and taken to Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset. He was released the same day on $20,000 unsecured bail. His bail conditions prohibit his return to either of the stores.
Lawrence “had full access to the stores. He had the ability to return items and remove items from the inventory,” Young said. “He was a trusted employee for a long time.”
Police do not think Lawrence was selling the merchandise and do not think anyone else was involved, according to Damariscotta police, although the investigation is ongoing in both Damariscotta and Kennebec County.
Neither Damariscotta nor Kennebec County officials are sure of a motive for the alleged crimes.
“We’re looking for the reasoning behind some of it,” Reardon said.
Lawrence has not been charged in Kennebec County, but he will be after a review of records to match the seized merchandise with items from the stores.
“It’s going to take further investigation to track a lot of this stuff down,” Reardon said.