Jonathan M. Strickland of Skowhegan is convicted of robbing a fairgrounds and a restaurant.

SKOWHEGAN — A burglar who taunted one of his victims with a note that said “the Black Ninja” couldn’t be stopped was sentenced to three years in prison Wednesday.

Jonathan M. Strickland, 25, of Skowhegan, was convicted on two counts of burglary, two counts of theft – both class C felonies – and his probation was revoked.

Strickland was sentenced to 36 months in prison for the probation revocation and 32 months for the burglaries and thefts, all to run concurrently, Skowhegan Police Chief Ted Blais said Thursday.

Police investigating a burglary at the Pak Lee Chinese Restaurant on Madison Avenue on Oct. 16 examined a video that showed the burglar “wearing a distinctive mask” entering the building, Blais said. The mask was made from black fabric with eye slits – ninja style.

The burglar stole bottles of liquor and money.

The same day, Skowhegan police responded to another burglary and theft of cash at the nearby Skowhegan State Fairgrounds office, where a note was found saying, “You can’t keep out the Black Ninja,” according to Blais.

“We think he made up the name on his own. At least he never told anybody why he called himself that,” Blais said.

“The Black Ninja” was a 2003 martial arts movie.

People in Skowhegan told detectives that Strickland had been calling himself “the Black Ninja” and had been bragging about committing other burglaries in the area, Blais said.

Police carried out a search warrant at Strickland’s apartment on Oct. 23 and found a mask like the one worn in the Pak Lee burglary, along with liquor bottles with the same brand and stickers stolen from the restaurant, Blais said.

Strickland was arrested at that time for a revocation of his probation and has been in jail since his arrest. Strickland was due to be released from probation just weeks before his arrest.

Joseph Kireburns, 23, of Skowhegan, also had been involved in the fairgrounds burglary, acting as Strickland’s lookout, police said. Kireburns pleaded guilty to burglary and theft and was sentenced to three years in prison with all but 60 days suspended and two years of probation.

Doug Harlow can be contacted at 621-5733 or at:

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