July 29, 2013

Suspect with long history charged with breaking into Portland social club

By David Hench dhench@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND – A Portland man who gained notoriety when he described himself as “a time bomb” in a letter to a judge has been arrested again, this time for allegedly breaking into the Italian Heritage Center off Outer Congress Street.

Norman Dickinson, 45, faces charges of burglary, aggravated criminal mischief and possession of burglary tools, following his arrest on Brighton Avenue almost four hours after the break-in.
Portland police said they received a call from the club’s alarm company indicating a break-in.

When they arrived, they found that someone had forced their way into the building, caused more than $2,000 damage to a security alarm panel and then fled. It’s not clear whether anything was taken.

Police obtained an image of a suspect from security video at the club. The video showed the burglar wearing a bag over his head, but at some point the bag either fell off or lifted up near a camera, so that the camera was able to get an image, police said.

The picture was circulated among patrol officers and one of them spotted Dickinson later that night. He was found to have a police scanner and pepper spray, police said.

Police are exploring whether there is an connection between Sunday’s burglary and others that have occurred in the area.

Dickinson has been charged in recent years with indecent conduct, burglary and refusal to submit to arrest.

In 1989, Dickinson pleaded guilty to threatening three women with a realistic-looking toy gun, kidnapping a woman and stealing the car of another woman. His struggles to re-enter society after spending much of his life in state institutions have made headlines since 1997 when he told a judge he was a "time bomb" and may commit new violent crimes.

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