ROCKLAND, Maine ― The Pennsylvania man whose disappearance spurred a multi-agency search in Owls Head this winter has admitted to breaking into a cottage and vandalizing it.
Thomas Hackett, 29, of Perkiomenville, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty Tuesday to burglary, criminal mischief and theft charges, according to his attorney, Jeremy Pratt. Hackett was released from Knox County Jail where he had been held since his arrest last month.
Hackett will face no additional jail time as part of a plea agreement. The burglary charge will be dropped if he adheres to conditions of the deal.
In February, authorities found Hackett’s car at an Owls Head residence, after the man was reported missing. A message that resembled a suicide note was written in black marker on the exterior of the home, according to reports from Knox County Sheriff’s Office.
When deputies searched the area around the cottage, they found footprints leading to the water and along the shore they found shoes, two cans of Yoo-hoo and a can of sardines. The discovery led to a massive land, air and sea search for Hackett.
On Feb. 24, Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport notified the sheriff’s office that Hackett was in the emergency room. Hospital staff did not disclose why he was there and did not permit police to interview him.
The Owls Head cottage Hackett vandalized is co-owned by members of his family. According to court documents, Hackett had only been to Maine once or twice.
One kayak was taken from the cottage. Hackett is believed to have taken the kayak to nearby Sheep Island, where Maine Marine Patrol discovered footprints, a can of sardines and a pelt from either a fox or a coyote.