Investigators for the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Department have arrested a man who allegedly tried to extort $10,000 from a Bowdoin resident.

Sagadahoc County Sheriff Joel A. Merry said deputies arrested 33-year-old Todd Jean of River Road in Leeds on Monday afternoon during a stakeout in Bowdoin.

Jean has been charged with extortion, a Class C felony. He was released Monday night from the Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset after posting $2,500 cash bail.

Merry said that last Thursday, Jean went to the victim’s home — his name is being withheld pending the outcome of a police investigation — to inquire about a pickup truck the victim was selling.

“He told the guy ‘I know you are growing dope,”‘ Merry said.

Jean identified himself as a police officer, Merry said. Jean said he would not turn the man in to authorities provided he placed $10,000 cash inside the truck before Jean returned Sunday to pick it up. Jean bought the truck for $900.

But the victim only left a portion of the $10,000 in the vehicle, Merry said. Jean allegedly called the victim back Sunday night and threatened to go to the police if the full amount was not paid.

At that point, Merry said, the victim, who is married and owns a home, notified the Sheriff’s Department.

Detective Sgt. John Burne and Detective Dan Reed had the victim set up a time and place to meet Jean on Monday. They decided to meet in a wooded area off Route 201 in Bowdoin.

As Reed was trying to find a hiding place near the site of the meeting, he discovered Jean crouched behind a tree.

Merry said Jean threw his cell phone into the woods, apparently thinking the phone would link him to the victim. But the victim provided deputies with Jean’s number, they dialed it, and they recovered the phone when it rang.

The officers also found two fake police badges and personal information about the victim in Jean’s newly acquired pickup, Merry said.

Whether the victim was growing marijuana is still under investigation, Merry said.

“I’ve never seen anything like this in my career,” he said. “But it is not uncommon for drug users to victimize other drug users. We just don’t always hear about it.”

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

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