A contractor working at Bangor City Hall is accused of stealing N95 masks intended for emergency responders and has been charged with theft.
Jonathan McCue, 31, of Bangor allegedly took 80 masks and at least two boxes of medical gloves from the Risk Management/Finance Office overnight Wednesday and planned to resell them. The theft was discovered Thursday, according to Bangor police. McCue was identified as the alleged thief after investigators reviewed security footage.
He is charged with theft and violating his bail conditions on a 2019 theft charge.
McCue allegedly stole 50 N95 masks — which are certified to filter out at least 95 percent of very small air particles — and 30 dust masks, according to Bangor City Manager Cathy Conlow.
McCue was not employed by the city but was working for a firm hired by the city to refurbish windows in the building.
The equipment had been locked up at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis to ensure the city had enough equipment to protect its first responders, Conlow said.
“I am extremely disappointed that someone would break into the PPE stores of the city for the purposes of reselling the material for personal profit,” she said Friday. “This individual had been working in the building without incident for several months and it is shocking that he would have broken into our PPE stores.”
Police had recovered 50 masks and two boxes of medical gloves, Conlow said Friday.
There have been two to four people working on the window rehab project in the evening hours for the past eight months, she said.
McCue made his first court appearance Friday remotely from the Penobscot County Jail. He was not asked to enter pleas because he has not yet been indicted by the Penobscot County grand jury, which is not expected to convene before June.
Superior Court Justice William Anderson set bail at $500 cash as the Penobscot County district attorney’s office requested. McCue said through the lawyer of the day that he could post that amount of bail.
McCue allegedly failed to appear in court in a previous case, and the judge warned him not to do so again.
“If you don’t appear next time or you violate your bail you will be staying in jail, coronavirus or no coronavirus,” Anderson said.
A widespread shortage of the masks, which filter out air particles that can carry the coronavirus, has left health care workers and first responders in short supply for treating coronavirus patients. Infected patients can transmit the virus to people in close proximity through respiratory droplets released when coughing, sneezing or speaking. The mask shortage has led to a number of examples of hoarding and price-gouging.
If convicted, McCue faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.