December 7, 2012

Elderly couple's neighbor arrested in Maine Christmas gift theft

Jason Horne, 25, allegedly stole Christmas presents from the home of an elderly couple in Oakland.

By MATT HONGOLTZ-HETLING Morning Sentinel

OAKLAND — A neighbor – found by police hiding in his attic – was arrested Friday in connection with the theft of an elderly couple's Christmas presents.

click image to enlarge

Charlotte Lovejoy kisses her husband, Del, while at home on Summer Street in Oakland on Thursday.

Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

click image to enlarge

Jason Horne

Related headlines

Jason Horne, 25, was found by police hiding underneath the insulation in the attic of his home on Summer Street during a search for stolen property, according to Capt. Rick Stubbert.

Horne lives across the street from Charlotte Lovejoy, 87, and her husband, Del, 88, a former head custodian at Messalonskee High School.

The Lovejoys have been swamped with community support since they woke up Thursday morning to find that the Christmas presents they bought for their family, including their 6-year-old grandniece, were stolen from their home while they slept. Their medication was also gone.

Stubbert said a tip led to Horne's arrest. He will be charged with burglary and theft.

The theft, which Stubbert called particularly distasteful, was overshadowed Friday by people from as far away as California calling to ask how they could help the Lovejoys.

In Oakland, the town office, Messalonskee High School and the police and fire departments collected donations for the couple. Many of those who called, including comedian Bob Marley, said they were outraged at the theft of presents from the Lovejoys, who live on a fixed income.

Stubbert said members of the police force were touched by the response.

"It renews our faith in humanity," he said. "Especially for us, because usually we see the worst side."

Stubbert said some of the presents were recovered, some had been destroyed and others had not been located.

Stubbert said the amount collected would exceed the value of the presents that were stolen from the Lovejoys.

"I think people are OK with that," he said. "What the Lovejoys went through was terrible."

Lia Daniels, of Standish, said she and her husband intended to contribute because she could imagine the same thing happening to her and her family.

"It's just awful," she said. "They were sleeping in their own home."

Charlotte Lovejoy said people have also stopped by her house or called to offer their help.

"I've been touched," she said. "There's so many good people out there."

Lovejoy said she wasn't sure what she would do if the amount donated exceeds what was stolen.

"If that's the case, I would donate some to the soup kitchen or the animal shelter or something," she said.

She said that the experience has taught her about the good people who surround her in the community.

"It just takes one bad person who thinks they can spoil Christmas," she said. "But they can't."

Matt Hongoltz-Hetling can be contacted at 861-9287 or at

mhhetling@centralmaine.com

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors




Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)