Saco police charge two in separate robberies

Saco police have charged two men in connection with separate robberies earlier this year.

John J. Vernon, 27, of Saco was arrested earlier this month on suspicion that he robbed a pharmacy in Gorham.

Saco police noticed similarities between that incident and a robbery at Community Pharmacy on June 2 and believe Vernon was responsible for that crime.

Additionally, Saco Deputy Police Chief Jeffrey Holland said his department is working to secure a grand jury indictment to formally charge Vernon in another robbery that occurred at the same Community Pharmacy on Jan. 19.

Vernon is being held in the Cumberland County Jail.

Saco police also have charged Wayne Thompson, 26, of Derry, N.H., in connection with two robberies: one at Cumberland Farms on April 15 and the other involving a Twin City Taxi driver the next day. Thompson reportedly fled Maine on an Amtrak train after those crimes and eventually ended up in New Hampshire.

Thompson is being held on separate charges in his home state. Holland said once those charges are dealt with, Thompson would be returned to Maine to face charges here.


Genealogical documents, cash stolen from church

Police say someone stole a heavy safe containing important genealogical documents from a Dixfield church.

The burglary reported Monday from the Dixfield Congregational Church resulted in the theft of birth, death, marriage, membership and baptismal records, as well as the theft of money and heavy damage to the pastor’s office door.

Sgt. Jeff Howe tells the Sun Journal he thinks at least two people were involved because of the weight of the 1.5-foot-by-2-foot steel safe.

The burglars gained entry through a rear door, which sustained slight damage. However, the door to the pastor’s office was destroyed.

The thieves also took a water cooler containing coins.

Howe estimated the amount of damage and value of the items and money taken as about $800.


Board to review proposal for ballfield recreation lodge

The town’s proposal to build a recreation lodge and other amenities at the recently completed athletic fields on Hunter Road will be reviewed this evening by the Project Review Board.

The plan also calls for covered pavilions, designated areas for portable toilets and a playground. The nearly 20-acre recreational area includes four soccer fields and three baseball fields.

The meeting starts at 6:15 p.m. in the council chamber at Town Hall.


Homeless man charged with stealing from benefactor

Police have charged a homeless man with taking advantage of the kindness of the person who offered him a place to stay.

Police said that Eric Ducas, 25, is charged with felony burglary for allegedly stealing prescription medication, cash and a cellphone from a Bangor resident who took Ducas and his girlfriend in because they had no place else to go.

Police told the Bangor Daily News that the resident said he had allowed the couple to stay at his home for a few weeks in June and July because they were homeless.

The resident eventually asked the couple to leave because they argued too much and he suspected Ducas of stealing.

When police caught up with Ducas on Friday, he allegedly had the missing cellphone on him.


Official hopes compressor clears the air at county jail

Androscoggin County Jail workers and inmates are getting some relief from the poor air quality at the facility.

Administrator John Lebel said that he hoped that a new air cooling compressor hoisted onto the Auburn jail’s roof Monday would be operational by Tuesday.

It replaces a compressor that broke down about a month ago and led to humid and stagnant air inside the facility that one worker described at the time as “skunky.”

Lebel relaxed staff dress code in response, but nevertheless, guards often finished their shifts drenched.

Lebel told the Sun Journal that no one has become sick as a result of the poor air, nor have there been any problems with the facility’s nearly 150 inmates.

The cost of the new compressor is about $100,000.


Student farm workers urged to watch out for hungry bear

A black bear is helping himself to a smorgasbord of fresh fruit, vegetable and natural honey at the 38-acre School Administrative District 1 Educational Farm in northern Maine.

Sightings of the 400-pound bear began late last week, and farm manager John Hoffses said it’s “not a welcome guest” because upward of 80 students work there in the summer.

Hoffses told the Bangor Daily News that student workers are harvesting strawberries and raspberries are well on their way toward ripening. Next come blueberries, followed by apples.

Hoffses is urging people to avoid the area, or at least be alert. In the meantime, he’s looking into hiring an expert to trap and relocate the bear. He said they’re “going to need a really big trap.”