THOMASTON — The owner of a local insurance agency was arrested this afternoon on a charge of promoting prostitution.

Mark W. Strong Sr., 56, of Thomaston, who owns the Strong Agency on Main Street, was taken into custody by state police.

Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, said Strong’s arrest is the result of a months-long investigation by Kennebunk police.

State police have been assisting Kennebunk with the investigation.

“I don’t have a lot of details on this because it is their investigation,” McCausland said. “It started in Kennebunk several months ago.”

Kennebunk Police Chief Robert Mackenzie declined to comment on the case until Wednesday morning when his staff is expected to issue a statement to local media.

According to state police, Strong was arrested early Tuesday afternoon and transported to the Knox County Jail.

Strong made bail, which had been set at $5,000 cash, according to jail officials.

Attempts to reach Strong at his place of employment and at his home on Knox Street were unsuccessful.

Townspeople described him as a well-established local businessman, who once served on the town’s Board of Selectmen.

“To be perfectly honest I am shocked at the allegations,” said State Senator Christopher W. Rector, who lives on Knox Street. “It’s sad if the allegations are true.”

Rector said his kids grew up with Strong’s children. 

“He still lives in the same house he was raised in,” Rector added.

Lee-Ann Upham, who serves as chairwoman of the Thomaston Board of Selectmen, said Strong served on the board of selectmen for about five years in the early 1990s.

Upham said Strong once did a sports talk show on local cable television. He also works as a baseball umpire.

“I’m very surprised as I’m sure everyone in town would be,” she said. “He is an insurance agent for a lot of people in town.”

According to The Strong Agency’s website, the company provides homeowners, auto and commercial line insurance products.

The website says that in January 2011 the agency moved to new offices at the former Maine State Police Barracks on Route 1 in Thomaston.

McCausland said state police investigators spent Tuesday searching Strong’s home on Knox Street in Thomaston as well as his insurance agency.

“I just can’t fathom where this is going,” Upham said, referring to the alleged Kennebunk connection.

This story will be updated.