SKOWHEGAN — A man who had been out of jail for three days was arrested again Friday on charges that he broke into a couple’s home while they slept and stole more than $10,000 in diamond jewelry.

Michael Fortin, 31, listed as a transient, was on probation for theft and freed three days earlier when he was arrested at an apartment on Pine Street where he has friends, according to Deputy Police Chief Dale Lancaster.

The owner of the Mechanic Street home, Janice Foster-Lake, a day care operator, said she and her husband, Robert, got up Friday morning and found that someone had rummaged through furniture and stolen diamond jewelry valued at more than $10,000.

“I said to my husband, ‘Somebody’s been in here,'” she said Friday. “I looked right away over the sink where I keep my rings and my container was gone. I went to my pocketbook and my wallet was in there, but my cash, my credit cards, were gone.”

Foster-Lake said her mother’s diamond ring and her own diamond wedding band and engagement ring were among the items stolen.

She said the doors and windows were locked and the couple was sleeping when the robber entered. Lancaster said Fortin allegedly manipulated the lock on a back door to gain entry.

Foster-Lake reported the theft about 6:30 a.m. She said her car also had been burglarized.

Prescription medicine and a laptop computer were also taken, but the computer and an empty pill bottle was recovered outside the house.

Lancaster said when police found Fortin at the Pine Street apartment around noon Friday, the stolen jewelry, cash and credit cards were in plain view and were seized as evidence.

Lancaster said the stolen items will be held until the district attorney’s office decides if a search warrant is needed to examine the property.

Fortin is being held without bail on a probation hold at the Somerset County Jail in East Madison. He faces charges of felony burglary and theft, punishable with a conviction of up to 10 years in prison.

Lancaster credited police officers and detectives Sgt. Daniel Summers and Kelly Hooper with good police work in quickly developing information that led them to Fortin.

He said police continue to investigate an armed robbery Tuesday evening at Stony Brook Market on U.S. Route 2, east of downtown Skowhegan. So far no one has been charged in that case.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

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