BIDDEFORD

Police release image of man in series of armed robberies

Police have released a surveillance image of a man wanted for questioning in connection with a series of robberies over the past week, including another one Tuesday night.

The D’Angelo’s Sandwich Shop at 352 Alfred St. was robbed just before 9 p.m. Tuesday. Biddeford police also are investigating robberies at the Family Dollar Store at 321 Elm St., the Super Sub Shop on Jefferson Street, the Red Rocket Smoke Shop at 80 Birch St., Tim Horton’s at 426 Alfred St. and the Yummy House Chinese Restaurant at 20 Alfred St., as well as a similar robbery at the Arundel Market at 1144 Portland Road.

In most of the incidents, a man described as 5 feet 10 inches to 6 feet tall, who partially disguised his face, entered the business, showed a weapon and demanded money. He left on foot with a small amount of cash.

The blurry surveillance image released Wednesday is from the robbery at the Red Rocket Smoke Shop.

Police say Tuesday night’s holdup followed the same pattern. Police ask that anyone with information call 282-5127.

NEW GLOUCESTER

Tractor-trailer full of fliers burns, closing turnpike lanes

A tractor-trailer truck loaded with shopping fliers caught fire and burned early Wednesday morning on the Maine Turnpike, shutting down several lanes at the New Gloucester toll barrier.

A toll collector reported that a tractor-trailer had caught fire at 2 a.m. in the southbound lanes just south of the toll booth, said turnpike spokesman Dan Morin.

The burning truck and responding New Gloucester firefighters occupied an area where vehicles merge after the multiple lanes of the toll barrier. Traffic was rerouted to the barrier’s high-speed lanes, Morin said.

The trailer was engulfed in flames and destroyed, along with its full load of fliers, Morin said. The authority brought in a cleanup crew with an excavator to remove the burned materials from the pavement, he said.

All lanes of the toll barrier had reopened by 10 a.m., he said.

PORTLAND

Massachusetts man gets year in drunk driving death

A Massachusetts man has been sentenced to serve a year in prison for a drunken driving crash in Naples last year that killed his passenger.

Richard Griffin, 52, of Topsfield, Mass., pleaded guilty in Cumberland County Unified Criminal Court on Tuesday to manslaughter and operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol resulting in death.

Griffin was driving a 2003 Chevrolet Blazer on Thompson Point Road on July 6, 2012, when it went off the road and hit a large pine tree. His passenger, William Schneider, 22, was killed, and Griffin suffered what police described at the time as life-threatening injuries.

Police said that Griffin was speeding and had been drinking before the crash.

Justice Roland Cole gave Griffin a six-year sentence, with all but one year suspended. The judge ordered him to serve a four-year probation term after completing his prison sentence.

Griffin is scheduled to report on Jan. 2 to begin serving his sentence.

BRUNSWICK

Blue Angels will perform if 2015 air show goes on

The U.S. Navy’s precision flight demonstration team announced this week that it will perform at the 2015 air show in Brunswick.

However, the Blue Angels’ appearance is contingent on the authority that governs activities at the former Navy base authorizing an air show, an event that costs about $750,000 to host.

Steve Levesque, executive director of the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority, said he was informed Tuesday that the Blue Angels would be available to perform in Brunswick on Labor Day weekend, Sept. 5-6, of 2015. The authority made a request last July to have the elite flight squadron perform.

Levesque said members of the authority will consider whether to authorize hosting an air show at their January meeting. The 2013 air show, which would have been held in September, had to be canceled due to budget cuts caused by sequestration.

“It’s a financial decision,” Levesque said of the authority’s decision. “It is not an inexpensive undertaking.”

Two civilian-sponsored air shows have been held at the former Brunswick Naval Air Station – now known as Brunswick Landing – since the base closed in 2011. Prior to the base being shut down, the air shows were organized by the Navy.

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds were the featured aerial act at the 2012 air show.

“The Thunderbirds are a great team of jet pilots but Brunswick is a Navy community. There are a lot of retired Navy people living here. The Blue Angels do really well in this area,” Levesque said.

Thousands attend the air show, which raises money for local charities and pumps an estimated $3 million to $5 million into the local economy, Levesque said.

According to its website, the Blue Angels are scheduled to do 68 performances in 2014 and 64 performances in 2015 at venues throughout North America.

BANGOR

Woman sentenced for role in robbery of pharmacy

An Augusta woman described by authorities as the driving force behind a pharmacy robbery in the city has been sentenced to nearly four years in prison.

Stephanie McCormick was sentenced Tuesday in federal court in Bangor to three years and 10 months behind bars and three years of probation. She was fined $1,000 and ordered to pay nearly $1,600 in restitution.

The 23-year-old woman pleaded guilty in March to aiding and abetting the January robbery.

Prosecutors say her cousin, Anthony Post, 20, pulled off the heist, walking into the pharmacy and handing a worker a note demanding oxycodone and claiming he had a gun.

But authorities say McCormick planned the robbery, wrote the note, arranged for a getaway driver and took a share of the stolen pills.

 

Man admits he stole copper from VA to finance addiction

A Maine man has pleaded guilty to stealing copper wire and pipe fittings from property operated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in Togus.

Derek Less, 26, of Richmond pleaded guilty to the theft Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Bangor.

Court records say VA employees and police officers watched Less remove spools of copper wire from the facilities.

After officers asked Less for permission to search his car, Less fled the VA grounds.

An investigation showed that Less sold over 400 pounds of wire and pipe fittings to Clark’s Cars & Parts in July and August of 2012. Less admitted that he stole the copper from the VA to support his drug addiction.

He awaits sentencing.

AUGUSTA

Paintings of Indian women unveiled in State House

Paintings of two Passamaquoddy women now adorn the State House as part of the “Americans Who Tell the Truth” project.

The portraits of Denise Altvater and Esther Attean were painted by Maine artist Robert Shetterly and were unveiled Wednesday in the Hall of Flags.

The project promotes courageous citizenship. Both women are part of a group that pressed for a truth and reconciliation process to explore tribal experiences with the child welfare system.

In Maine, Indian children were taken from their families and placed in white foster homes at a higher rate than in most other states as a result of federal policies. In 1978, the federal Indian Child Welfare Act gave Indian children more protection and recognized the importance of tribal culture.

BRUNSWICK

Bowdoin razes last house in banned fraternity system

The last vestige of Bowdoin College’s fraternity system has been destroyed.

The Times Record reported that an excavator this week tore down the former Alpha Kappa Sigma fraternity house. It had been vacant for more than a decade.

Fraternities at the private school were barred from accepting new members in 1997 and eliminated altogether in 2000 when the final Greek-affiliated students graduated.

Bowdoin then began to acquire the buildings either for repurposing or demolition. Some of the former fraternity houses were renovated and incorporated into the College House residence system that replaced the Greek system.

But the Alpha Kappa Sigma house was in such poor shape that renovation made no sense.

Bowdoin, the oldest college in Maine, has no firm plans for the site at this point.

HOLYOKE, Mass.

Reliance on natural gas could cause delivery woes

New England’s electric grid operator says consumers can expect to have enough electricity to run their heating systems this winter.

But ISO-New England said Wednesday that the region’s increased reliance on natural gas is making the region vulnerable to delivery problems during periods of extreme cold.

ISO says most natural gas-fired generators do not hold long-term fuel-delivery contracts but instead rely on local gas companies that may not have gas available when demand is high. The ISO then depends on oil- and coal-fired power plants, which are more costly and run infrequently.

For this winter, ISO has secured nearly 2 million megawatt hours of energy from oil-fired generators, oil- and natural gas-fired generators and energy-saving agreements with companies to cut power if asked.