December 28, 2012

Judge lowers bail in alleged S. Portland group robbery

The four South Portland residents are facing felony charges punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

By Scott Dolan sdolan@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND – A judge lowered the bail Friday for four South Portland residents who were charged with felony robbery after allegedly trying to get money back from a man who had sold one of them a stolen smartphone.

On Wednesday, Meadow Collins, 19; her mother, Elizabeth Collins, 52; Gabriel Sobczak, 18; and Justin Fletcher, 38, were ordered held on $100,000 cash bail.

Authorities said Meadow Collins concocted a plan to meet the man who sold her a stolen iPhone over Craigslist in a parking lot near the Maine Mall.

She planned to confront him, along with a group, to get back the $200 she had paid him for the phone or beat him up.

In the parking lot, Fletcher punched the 19-year-old smartphone seller in the back of the head, drawing blood, said Cumberland County Assistant District Attorney Hannah Ames.

The four also took the man's phone and money, Ames said.

The four were not required to enter pleas when they appeared Friday in Cumberland County Unified Criminal Court.

Each one is charged with a felony punishable by as much as 30 years in prison.

Their cases will now go to a grand jury.

Judge E. Mary Kelly reset bail for each one: to $500 cash for Sobczak and $750 cash for the other three, with several conditions.

The judge ordered that the four have no contact with the victim or each other, and comply with pretrial supervision.

That means Meadow and Elizabeth Collins are not allowed to contact each other.

Michael Whipple, the attorney who represents Elizabeth Collins, argued that preventing her from seeing her daughter wouldn't accomplish anything.

Whipple said Elizabeth Collins, a special-education teacher in Gorham, called police before going to meet the smartphone seller in the parking lot and provided a statement afterward saying she had accompanied her daughter to get the man's license plate number.

"The irony is, the alleged victim is the one selling a stolen phone to my client's daughter and she's the one charged with robbery," Whipple said. "It makes no sense that this special-education teacher would concoct this robbery after calling police and reporting it."

Fletcher told police that he punched the smartphone seller because he thought the man was going to strike Elizabeth Collins, said the prosecutor and a defense attorney.

 

Staff Writer Scott Dolan can be contacted at 791-6304 or at:

sdolan@pressherald.com

 

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