Police investigate if alleged attack was hate crime

Police are investigating a possible hate crime in which a group of men attacked a man at 2 a.m. Friday on Cumberland Avenue.

The man told police he was walking near 165 Cumberland Ave. when a man punched him in the face repeatedly and called him derogatory names referring to the perception that he was gay.

The man suffered bruises to his face and a minor cut. A witness told police that the group of men surrounded the victim and that it included two or three black men and one white man. The victim said his attacker was a white man with short brown hair, about 5 feet 10 inches tall, with an average to thin build.

Anyone with information is asked to call police at 874-8533.

Woman pleads guilty to theft of $500,000 from credit union

A Topsham woman who worked for a credit union in Brunswick pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court to a charge of theft.

Marsha Richard, 42, was accused of stealing more than $500,000 in Atlantic Regional Federal Credit Union funds from November 2004 to October 2010.

Richard was accused of manipulating accounting entries for checks that credit union members had deposited but had been returned for insufficient funds. Richard allegedly credited her own account or those of family members or friends rather than the appropriate internal account.

Richard faces as much as 30 years in prison and a fine of as much as $1 million.


Texas woman accused of killing son not yet indicted

The Texas woman accused of killing her 6-year-old son in New Hampshire and disposing of his body in rural Maine has not yet been indicted by a grand jury, despite a New Hampshire law requiring indictments to be returned within 90 days after the case is sent to superior court.

Julianne McCrery of Irving, Texas, is being held without bail after pleading not guilty to second-degree murder in connection with death of Camden Hughes in May.

She waived her right to a probable cause hearing May 26, sending her case to Rockingham Superior Court.

The prosecution can seek an extension.

The Portsmouth Herald reports that prosecutors had no comment, except to say any filings for an extension would be kept under seal and not part of the public record.


Benefit today is for Renee Sandora Children’s Fund

A benefit for the children of Renee Sandora will be held today.

Sandora died July 26, leaving behind four children. The children’s father, Joel Hayden, is charged with murder in her death and the death of his friend, Trevor Mills.

The fundraiser will be held at the Tailgate Bar and Grill on Route 100 from 8 p.m. to midnight. The cover charge is $10 at the door, with all proceeds going to the Renee Sandora Children’s Fund. A portion of liquor sales will benefit the fund as well.

The event will feature music by Audio Vault, door prizes and raffles.

Donations to the fund can also be sent to: The Renee Sandora Children’s Fund, c/o Patricia Gerber, Androscoggin Bank, 130 Middle St., Portland 04101.


Bowdoin man, 40, indicted for role in kickback scheme

A federal grand jury has indicted a Bowdoin man on a charge of accepting drug company payments while working as a pharmacist for the mail-order pharmacy PIN Rx.

Reginald S. Gracie, 40, also was indicted on charges of conspiracy and filing false federal income tax returns, according to U.S. Attorney Thomas E. Delahanty II.

PIN Rx was a mail-order pharmacy operated by the Penobscot Indian Nation in 2005 and 2006. Gracie was the director of operations and then the pharmacist at PIN Rx, the indictment says.

He was charged with 19 counts of corruptly soliciting and receiving kickbacks as an agent of an organization that received federal funds. Gracie is accused of taking a total of about $120,717 in kickbacks from six companies that sold prescription drugs over the Internet in return for having PIN Rx fill their customer’s prescriptions. He also is charged with filing false income tax returns in 2006 and 2007 that understated income.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the conspiracy counts each carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison. The kickback offenses each carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. The tax counts each carry a maximum penalty of three years in prison. On each count, the defendant also faces a fine of $250,000 and a three-year term of supervised release.

The federal investigation began after a referral by the Maine Attorney General’s Office and the Maine Board of Pharmacy. It involved the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.


Projectiles for guns on ship being built at BIW pass test

The new projectile for a long-range gun on the new destroyer being built at Bath Iron Works has successfully completed its first live-fire tests.

The Zumwalt-class of destroyers will feature two 155mm guns capable of hitting targets from 100 miles away. To do that, the gun will use a rocket-assisted projectile.

The Navy said Wednesday that two test projectiles flew about 50 miles. Controlled by global positioning system, the projectile met its test objectives.

The tests were conducted at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. Live-fire testing is part of the qualification and engineering process for the Advanced Gun System, which eventually will be deployed on the Zumwalt.


Dayton woman sentenced for two oxycodone robberies

A woman who robbed an Old Orchard Beach pharmacy barefoot and another pharmacy wearing the same dirty white sweatshirt, was sentenced Thursday in York County Superior Court to almost six years in prison.

Jennifer Nicholas, 31, of Dayton was arrested in October. She pleaded guilty Thursday to robbing the Hannaford pharmacy in Waterboro of 149 oxycodone pills and the Rite Aid in Old Orchard on Sept. 30 of 188 oxycodone pills.

Police caught her after a witness saw a woman matching the robber’s description getting in a car. An officer spotted the car later and police tracked it to Nicholas’ home in Dayton.

She was sentenced to five years, 11 months in prison.


Service project ends on sour note for Girl Scout leaders

Two Girl Scout leaders were fired for raising money for a community service project that made improvements to a dog park in Augusta.

The leaders of Augusta Troop 2901 solicited donations that totaled about $1,800 for the $2,300 project used to build a sign and make other improvements to the park.

The project turned out well and the money was spent for its intended purpose.

But Diane Lasher of the Girl Scouts of Maine says national and state policies prohibit scouts and their leaders from soliciting donations for projects.

The Kennebec Journal says the fired leaders and others involved in the project want to see that policy changed.

Marianne Sancouci, one of the fired scout leaders, says the girls worked hard and they’re upset.


Homeowner finds intruder; police make burglary arrest

York County sheriff’s deputies arrested a 26-year-old Arundel man Wednesday on charges of burglary and theft and a series of warrants for other charges.

A homeowner on Shady Lane came home to find an intruder in her house. A neighbor parked behind the man’s car so he couldn’t leave. When deputies arrived they found Keith Lamb standing beside the car.

He eventually admitted breaking into the home and five other burglaries in Arundel in recent weeks, police said. Police searched the area of the house and found $4,000 in stolen jewelry.


First Wind subsidiary hopes to put up wind-testing gear

A subsidiary of a company with three wind farms in Maine wants to erect a series of poles to collect wind data in a remote area of northern Maine.

First Wind subsidiary King Pine Wind LLC has filed applications with the Land Use Regulation Commission to erect 13 test poles equipped with meteorological devices to collect data in the general area of the Route 11 corridor between the Aroostook County towns of Ashland and Patten.

Spokesman John Lamontagne told the Bangor Daily News the poles would be used to test the wind speed in the region and determine if it’s strong enough to justify erecting wind turbines.

If permits are granted, Lamontagne said the test poles could be erected by the end of the year.


Police seek clues in 3-month disappearance of woman, 22

State police are searching for clues in hopes of learning the whereabouts of a young Lewiston woman who was last seen nearly three months ago.

Investigators searched a house on Sabattus Street in Lewiston on Friday in hopes of uncovering clues connected to the disappearance of 22-year-old Christiana Fesmire. A Highland Avenue house that Fesmire once lived in was searched last week.

Police say Fesmire was last seen at a friend’s house July 1.

Family members have said she was supposed to attend a family reunion in Rangeley on July 4 but never showed up.

Police suspect tainted drugs killed one, sickened another

Police warned residents to avoid street drugs after one man died and another was hospitalized Friday morning.

Officers discovered a man acting strangely on Bartlett Street just before 2 a.m. Andrew Jackson, 19, was disoriented and combative with police and paramedics, was eventually restrained and then taken to Central Maine Medical Center for emergency treatment.

He was later pronounced dead, police said. The state medical examiner is investigating the cause and manner of Jackson’s death.

Officers found another man on Birch Street who had been with Jackson. The man was taken to St. Mary’s Hospital for emergency detoxification, police said. The men may have taken hallucinogenic mushrooms and other illegal drugs, and the mushrooms may have been laced with some other substance, police said.

— From staff and news services