October 16, 2019
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Hancock County man with 72 criminal convictions arrested on charge of stealing wallet

Courtesy of Hancock County Jail
Courtesy of Hancock County Jail
James F. Grindel, Jr.

A Hancock County man is facing charges that could send him back to prison for five years after he allegedly stole another man’s wallet.

James F. Grindel Jr., 55, of Hancock has an extensive criminal history that dates back to the mid-1980s, most of which involves convictions for burglary and theft, according to a criminal history record obtained Tuesday from the state Bureau of Identification.

His criminal record shows that over the past 34 years, Grindel has been convicted of 72 crimes. In March, he was convicted in Ellsworth on a felony drug furnishing charge and received a sentence of three years behind bars with all but three months suspended, a $400 fine and two years probation.

In July, while out on probation, Grindel allegedly stole a wallet that had been misplaced by another man at an Ellsworth yard sale and later tried to use a credit card in it to get $200 from an ATM at a store in Blue Hill, according to an affidavit filed in Hancock County Unified Criminal Court. After the victim’s credit card company contacted him about the failed attempt, the man went to police, who later tracked down security camera footage that allegedly showed Grindel trying to use the card at the store to get cash.

Police secured an arrest warrant for Grindel and, last weekend, took him into custody after pulling him over for speeding on North Street, according to Ellsworth police Sgt. Shawn Willey. Grindel was driving 43 mph in a 25 mph zone, Willey said.

Grindel is facing two felony Class C charges of theft and one misdemeanor charge of misuse of identification, according to court documents. He faces potential sentences of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine for each of the felony theft charges.

Grindel’s criminal history includes the 1999 burglary of a statue from a home in Sorrento that he and a co-defendant later resold to a southern Maine antiques dealer. The dealer soon resold the statue for $11,000. Within a few months, it was being offered for sale in New York City for $60,000 before police tracked it down.

In 1994, Grindel pleaded guilty to a burglary in which he stole a Miami Dolphins jacket from a man who later saw Grindel wearing it during a court appearance in Ellsworth. The man told sheriff’s deputies, who followed Grindel and saw him burglarize several cars in the Ellsworth City Hall parking lot across the street before placing him under arrest.

Grindel remained Tuesday in Hancock County Jail in Ellsworth on $500 bail. He is scheduled to appear in court Oct. 9 on the most recent charges.



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