July 17, 2013

Local & State Dispatches

From staff and news services


Man pleads not guilty to two counts of arson

A Lewiston man has pleaded not guilty to two counts of arson in connection with fires that destroyed two vacant apartment buildings in Lewiston.

Brian Morin, 30, entered his plea Tuesday in Androscoggin County Superior Court in Auburn.

Morin and Bryan Wood, 23, are charged in the May 6 fire, which was the third major fire in Lewiston in less than two weeks that left about 200 people homeless. Two 12-year-old boys are charged with setting the other blazes.

According to an affidavit cited by the Sun Journal, Morin and Wood used lighter fluid to start fires.

Morin is being held on $350,000 bail.


NYC man will serve time for counterfeit credit cards

A New York City man who was caught with about 160 counterfeit credit cards has been sentenced in Maine to three years in prison.

Michael Barnes, 34, was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court. Judge George Singal also ordered him to pay $8,687 in restitution.

Barnes pleaded guilty to credit card fraud in April. Prosecutors say he and two other people were stopped in a vehicle in 2011 and found to have the counterfeit cards, some of which had been used to make purchases at stores in South Portland and Scarborough.

Barnes’ sentence will run on top of a seven-year sentence that he’s already serving in New York for burglary and weapons possession.


Woman, 80, dies of injuries sustained in Saturday crash

Police say the 80-year-old passenger in a car that was involved in a head-on crash in Lewiston last weekend has died.

A police spokesman said Charlene McKeen of Sabattus died at a hospital Sunday of injuries she sustained in the crash on Route 196 about 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

McKeen was a passenger in a vehicle driven by Arlene Harris, 80, of Lisbon Falls.

Police say Harris was driving east when her car collided with a westbound vehicle driven by Spencer Emerson, 20, of Lewiston.

The crash remains under investigation and no charges have been filed.


Man charged with setting two fires, linked to more

Police say a 21-year-old Bath man who is charged with setting two trash bins on fire may be a serial arsonist.

Bath police and firefighters responded Sunday night to extinguish a fire in a trash bin at the YMCA. After determining the fire was probably set intentionally, police searched the area and Officer Ted Raedel found Allan Vigil in woods nearby.

A short time earlier, a fire had started in debris behind the Department of Public Works, police said.
State fire marshal’s Investigator Mary MacMaster joined the investigation and, after Vigil was interviewed at his home, he was charged with arson in connection with the fires.

Police say Vigil also has been linked to fires at the Family Focus day-care center July 4 and at the Bath landfill July 1, although he has not been charged with setting those fires.

At Family Focus, someone broke a window and spread an accelerant inside, said Fire Marshal Joe Thomas. He said the building had sprinklers that quickly put out the fire.

The fire at the landfill was worrisome because a propane cylinder was placed in the blaze, creating the risk of explosion, he said.

Vigil is being held at Two Bridges Regional Jail on $20,000 bail.


Historic lakeside inn heads for auction block on July 25

A historic lakeside inn in western Maine is going on the auction block.

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