WINTHROP — Police recovered all 34 guns and the ammunition stolen early Saturday from Audette’s Hardware store, and have identified a suspect in the theft.

Winthrop Police Chief Joseph Young said the suspect, John Joseph Woodley, 49, of Winthrop led police to the cache of weapons. Winthrop police had summonsed Woodley on unrelated burglary and theft charges stemming from an incident that occurred about a week earlier, Young said at a news conference Tuesday morning.

“He’s been helpful in helping us resolve some of those (previous burglary) issues,” Young said.

Young said the firearms theft is being handled by the federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and  Firearms, and he expects them to bring charges. If Woodley is convicted of violating federal firearms law, the minimum sentence is 10 years because of the number of guns involved.

Young said Woodley entered and exited the hardware store through the roof, using a tool to peel back the metal roofing material. The weapons were recovered Monday.

Records in Augusta District Court show Woodley was fined May 4 after being found guilty on a charge of theft by unauthorized taking which occurred last year in Winthrop. Woodley’s hometown is listed as Augusta in that document.

Police logs show Woodley has been arrested several times in Winthrop and Augusta on various charges, including assault, criminal mischief and violating probation. He was also indicted in 2004 in Kennebec County Superior Court on felony charges of operating under the influence and operating after revocation.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.