Smash-and-grab robber tackled, caught by employee

A watch shop in downtown Portland was robbed Monday afternoon by a man wielding a brick.

Lt. Gary Hutcheson said 21-year-old Arien Litalien entered Swiss Time at 86 Exchange Street around 4:20 p.m. and asked to be shown the store’s best watches.

An employee took Litalien to a display case containing several Rolex watches. At that point Litalien produced a brick which he used to smash the display case. He removed several watches and fled, police said.

The employee pursued Litalien and tackled him in Tommy’s Park. A passerby helped restrain Litalien until police arrived.

Litalien is being held at the Cumberland County Jail on charges of robbery, felony theft, criminal mischief, and violation of bail conditions from a previous arrest.


Portland as ‘hotbed of sex’ rated as a lukewarm No. 100

A men’s magazine has rated the top 100 cities in a listing it calls “Hotbeds of Sex.” Leading the list is Austin, Texas. And Number 100 is Portland. (Or as the editors put it “People are most sexually active in Austin, Texas and are the least frisky in Portland, Maine.”)

Men’s Health magazine ranked the cities using data on condom sales, birth rates, sex toy sales and rates of sexually transmitted diseases.

No city in New England fared well in this list. Boston could be called “the friskiest” in the region with a rank of 76.


City man, 25, indicted in Aug. 12 stabbing death

A Cumberland County grand jury has indicted a 25-year-old Portland man on charges he stabbed a man to death in his apartment on Grant Street last month.

The grand jury returned an indictment of “intentional or knowing or depraved indifference murder” against Shawn Garland for the death of Richard Meyers, 58 on Aug. 12.

Garland’s lawyer said his client suffers from mental illness. He stabbed Meyers, an acquaintance, with a knife, police said.


Augusta man, 36, arrested in armed holdup of bank

Authorities say an Augusta man has been arrested on charges of holding up a Manchester bank at gunpoint, after a bank patron helped to capture him.

Police say 36-year-old Jonathan Linton of Augusta demanded cash from a teller at the Gardiner Savings Bank on Monday afternoon and fled in a pickup truck.

A bank patron who was parked in the drive-through banking lane followed Linton and called police.

Deputies with the Kennebec County Sheriff’s office arrested Linton three miles from the robbery.

Authorities say Linton, who has an extensive criminal history, including convictions of burglary, theft, arson, and assault on an officer, admitted to the bank robbery.



Calais LNG seeking another delay in approval process

The company trying to develop a liquefied natural gas terminal in Calais is asking the Maine Board of Environmental Protection for an additional delay before it considers the merits of the project.

In August, Calais LNG asked the board for time for its lead investor, GS Power Holdings, to find a new financial partner for the project. The new financing was supposed to be lined up by Sept. 11. A meeting between key parties and the board was set for Wednesday.

But a lawyer for the company wrote Tuesday to the board’s chair, Susan Lessard, asking to postpone the meeting, and seeking another 30 days before providing a status report. David Van Slyke wrote that more time was needed because discussions to finance the $1 billion project are “time-consuming and complex.” Calais LNG has narrowed the candidates to two, he wrote, one with access to a significant supply of natural gas, and the other involved in the global commodities market.

Environmental groups and other opponents have complained that Calais LNG should withdraw its permit application until it lines up financing.


State’s SAT scores in 2010 show little change from 2009

Maine’s 2010 high school graduates posted virtually the same scores on the SAT college admissions exam as their 2009 counterparts, according to national test results released Monday.

The average scores of Maine’s class of 2010 on the three-part college entrance exam remained unchanged in two categories and dropped by a point in one, the national results released by the College Board show.

Maine’s average scores for 2010 in the “Critical Reading” and “Mathematics” sections were no different than they were in 2009: 468 and 467, respectively, on an 800-point scale. Scores on the “Writing” section dipped by a point, to 454 on an 800-point scale.

Maine was below the national average in all categories, but the College Board warns that states’ scores depend heavily on the type of students taking the test.

Maine Department of Education spokesman David Connerty-Marin said students taking higher-level courses outscored their classmates.


Man linked to triple homicide is released on lowered bail

A man who was arrested Friday in connection with a triple homicide walked out of jail Monday after his bail was lowered. Robert Strout Sr., 63, of Orient met his bail of $50,000 property and was released from the Aroostook County Jail.

Strout was indicted Friday on charges of arson and hindering apprehension. He was arrested Friday evening and remained in jail over the weekend.

Strout appeared Monday in Presque Isle District Court by videoconference from the jail. He told Judge Bernard O’Mara that he understood the charges and pleaded not guilty to both.

Jeff Pickering, Strout’s attorney, requested that bail be lowered from the $100,000 property or $20,000 cash that was set Friday. O’Mara agreed to lower the bail to $50,000 property or $20,000 cash. Pickering said his client’s home is worth enough to meet the $50,000 requirement.

Strout’s arrest came a little more than two months after Thayne Ormsby, 20, was charged with killing Jeffrey Ryan, 55, his 10-year-old son, Jesse Ryan, and the elder Ryan’s friend Jason Dehahn, 30, on June 22 at Jeffrey Ryan’s home in Amity.

The state says Strout drove Ormsby to New Hampshire to stay at Strout’s son’s home on June 25. Strout also allegedly helped Ormsby conceal evidence of the crime, including Jeffrey Ryan’s truck, which was burned.


Tests show wind turbines exceed 45-decibel limit

A consultant hired by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection agreed with local residents who’ve complained that three wind turbines installed on the island of Vinalhaven exceed state noise standards.

Some neighbors have complained about the nighttime noise, and the consultant, Warren Brown from the University of Maine, agreed that the turbines exceed the 45-decibel limit.

“We’re encouraged that after all this hard work and effort that it’s coming to some sort of conclusion,” islander Cheryl Lindgren said Monday. She noted that the “whoosh” and “wump” sounds from the turbines less than a half-mile from her home are loud enough to drown out a seasonal brook behind her home.

The Fox Island Wind farm was dedicated in November 2009 with a goal of easing electricity rates for 1,800 year-round residents of Vinalhaven and North Haven islands.

Residents were told that ambient noise would mask the turbine noise.


Motorcycle crash victim flown to Lewiston hospital

A Dresden man was flown to a Lewiston hospital after crashing his motorcycle Sunday on River Road.

Erik Shirrmacher, 34, was in critical condition Monday at Central Maine Medical Center, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

Shirrmacher was taken to the hospital by a LifeFlight of Maine helicopter at about 5 p.m. Sunday.

Shirrmacher was driving his motorcycle north on River Road when he lost control on a corner and crashed.

Speed and alcohol appear to have played a role in the crash.


Tribal chief wins re-election to second four-year term

The chief of Maine’s Penobscot Indian Nation is going to serve a second four-year term.

Chief Kirk Francis was re-elected Saturday, easily beating his challenger, former Chief Barry Dana, The Bangor Daily News reported.

The 41-year-old Francis said his re-election is an endorsement of his policies, which have resulted in a number of economic development opportunities, including contracts with the U.S. Department of Defense and a wind energy program.


UMaine system hopes to hold tuition, fees hike at 3 percent

University of Maine System trustees hope to hold tuition and fee increases in their latest budget proposal to no more than 3 percent.

Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Rebecca Wyke said trustees will pass along savings to students if lawmakers approved trustees’ request.