March 10, 2010

Familiar suspect charged with stealing cigarettes

DAVID HENCH

— By

click image to enlarge

Norman Thompson leaps off a third floor balcony on Howe Street before Lewiston Police Officer Jeff Baril can grab him in Lewiston, Maine, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2007. Thompson, a fugitive from justice, was spotted by Lewiston Detective Sgt. Adam Higgins and fled into the three story apartment building. After Higgins and fellow officers were closing in on Thompson, he lept onto a garage roof in an attempt to escape. (AP Photo/Sun Journal, Russ Dillingham) ** MANDATORY CREDIT **

AP

Staff Writer

Norman Thompson, a man whose capture by a newspaper photographer in Lewiston two years ago made national news, has been caught again, this time charged with stealing over $1,000 worth of cigarettes in Portland.

Portland police arrested Thompson, 36, on Wednesday in connection with two commercial burglaries this week.

Police say he smashed a window and stole Marlboros and cash from Donatelli's Market on Washington Avenue at about 2:30 a.m. Sunday. He also is charged with breaking into the Extra Mart at 865 Brighton Ave. at 3 a.m. Tuesday and stealing just over $1,000 worth of cigarettes: Camels, Kools and Newports in addition to Marlboros, police said.

Police in Falmouth are investigating whether Thompson was involved in a burglary to Allen Farm Country Store on Gray Road.

An officer stopped Thompson for speeding on Gray Road northbound at 4:45 a.m. Saturday, shortly before a separate burglary in Cumberland was reported.

Police say they were able to use information from the traffic stop in Falmouth and security video from the burglaries in Portland to identify Thompson. Patrol officers were keeping watch for Thompson's car and he was pulled over on St. John Street near Brighton Avenue.

When he was arrested, Thompson was found to have several items taken from a burglarized car in Westbrook, police said.

Police were to execute a search warrant on Thompson's apartment Wednesday but the results of that were not immediately available.

Thompson gained notoriety in 2007 when Lewiston police, searching for him in connection with the theft of a game warden's pickup, located him in a a third-floor apartment. To avoid capture, Thompson sprinted toward a balcony and jumped, landing on a single-story garage, then dropping to the ground and running. He might have gotten away but for the efforts of a photographer for the Lewiston Sun Journal who was recording the event.

Prompted by police, the photographer tackled Thompson and held him until police arrived.

Thompson was released in May after a year and a half in jail and has been on probation.

Earlier this month, Thompson was the focus of another story in the Sun Journal. Christopher Williams wrote an article for the July 12 edition in which Thompson explained how his time in jail had allowed him to get help for his addiction and mental illness, and said that he was planning to steer clear of trouble, get a job and stay straight.

He's now charged with felony theft and burglary and more charges are possible.

Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

dhench@pressherald.com

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