WATERVILLE – Police arrested a woman Wednesday after she allegedly broke into the home of a state legislator and fled with a computer and other items.

Cindy Longstaff, 70, wife of state Rep. Thomas Longstaff, D-Waterville, said she chased the suspect, cornered her in a shed, grabbed a computer the woman had taken from the home and told her to stay put until police arrived, but the woman fled.

Police cornered the woman on Belmont Street with help from Longstaff, who told dispatchers where the woman was headed.

“Officers Galen Estes and Dennis Picard confronted her right there,” Waterville Police Chief Joseph Massey said.

Jessica Savage, 31, listed as transient, was charged with burglary, possession of a firearm by a felon and theft, Massey said. Police said they found an unloaded .22-caliber handgun belonging to the Longstaffs in Savage’s bag when she was arrested. They also found credit cards belonging to the Longstaffs.

Savage was unable to make $1,500 cash bail and was taken to Kennebec County Jail in Augusta. She is scheduled to appear in Waterville District Court on July 10.

Massey said police don’t believe Savage acted alone. She told police her abusive boyfriend forced her to commit the burglary.

“She related some of the abuse she has suffered at the hands of her boyfriend and one incident that occurred in Waterville last Friday. The officers did notice that she was limping and that she had an injured leg,” he said.

On Wednesday night, police arrested her boyfriend, Richard Rice, 48, 243 Main St., Apt. 5, and charged him with domestic-violence assault and terrorizing.

Massey said Rice denies any involvement in the burglary.

“As a matter of fact, he is not cooperating whatsoever, so as it stands right now, the investigation continues to see if there was a link between Mr. Rice and Jessica Savage and the burglary,” he said.

Rice is scheduled to appear in Waterville District Court on July 3.

Deputy Chief Charles Rumsey said Thursday that Savage suffered an injury to her left knee and foot she said came from being thrown down stairs at Rice’s residence.

Longstaff said she arrived home a little after 12:30 p.m. Wednesday after being away for 25 minutes. She saw that a cellar window had been pried open and a stranger’s sweatshirt and bag were on the patio.

After searching the house, she saw her husband’s laptop was missing from his office desk. She called 911, ran down the street and saw a woman crouched in a trash shed on School Street, holding her husband’s computer. She grabbed the computer and the suspect fled.

“All’s well that ends well,” Longstaff said Thursday. “But I don’t think I’d ever do it the same way again.”

Massey said it’s fortunate no one was hurt.

“This was a very brazen daytime burglary with the potential to end with some serious injury, with the homeowner coming home and surprising someone who had broken into her home,” he said.

Morning Sentinel Staff Writer Amy Calder can be contacted at 861-9247 or at:

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