WINSLOW — A police response to a series of car burglaries resulted in a lockout being declared for about two hours Friday morning at Winslow schools while police searched for a burglary suspect who ended up in custody shortly before 10 a.m.

The Winslow elementary, middle and high schools went into lockout about 7:30 a.m., according to a news release from Winslow police Chief Shawn O’Leary. Classes proceeded as usual inside the schools, but all the doors were locked and anyone seeking to get inside the school buildings came under greater scrutiny, O’Leary said in an interview.

“It’s really just a precautionary measure,” he said at the scene outside the schools because the students were at recess at the time of the search.

O’Leary said police were investigating 10 to 15 motor vehicle burglaries discovered in the nearby town of Benton and in Winslow. Kennebec County sheriff’s deputies arrested two suspects, O’Leary said, but two others were still at large during the lockout time frame.

A third suspect was apprehended by police around 9:50 a.m. off Benton Avenue, according to police reports. A fourth suspect had fled earlier and eventually turned himself in. School officials and police confirmed the lockout order was lifted at 10 a.m.

O’Leary said no students or staff members at Winslow schools were at risk. St. John Catholic School in Winslow was in lockout mode as well, as were Benton Elementary and Fairfield Primary.


In a news release late Thursday afternoon, police identified the suspects and the charges against them: Ian Machado, 25, of Guilford, who was charged with four counts of burglary to a motor vehicle, class D, and one charge of theft, class D; Jacob Stevens, 18, of Ripley, who was charged with four counts of burglary to a motor vehicle, class D, and two charges of theft, one class C because one item was a firearm and the other class D; Nicholas Fortier, 19, of Willimantic, who was charged with four counts of burglary to a motor vehicle and one charge of burglary, both class D; and the fourth member of the group, Slade Mower, 21, of Ripley, who is charged with four counts of burglary to a motor vehicle and one charge of burglary, both class D.

Cash bail for Machado was set at $900. The other three men had unsecured bail set at $2,500. They are not to see any of the others, and all four are scheduled to be in Kennebec County Superior Court at 8:30 a.m. June 12.

Mower, who police determined had fled in a vehicle, was found in Milo, nearly 70 miles away, where he turned himself in to the Milo Police Department.

Fortier, the subject of the search, was arrested near Johnny’s Selected Seeds on Benton Avenue.

O’Leary said police started tracking Fortier on Friday morning, and police dogs had tracked the suspect to the area of the schools, prompting the lockout. Shortly before 9:30 a.m., however, O’Leary said the dog search had been suspended because the dogs had not been able to find the suspect.

School Resource Officer Ron McGowen, the officer in charge of the school campus, said a call was received from a person in the area reporting a suspicious-looking person wearing just sweat pants, but McGowen said he wasn’t sure if the caller had been aware of the school lockout.


McGowen said he searched the area and converged on the suspect with two state police units. He said the person surrendered without incident, going to the ground when he was instructed to do so. A canine unit was brought to the area where the suspect was found, and McGowen said the dog searched for the suspect’s missing clothing to see where else he had been.

“We’re not sure where he came from,” McGowen said.

O’Leary said McGowen aided their police work greatly.

“Thank God we do have an SRO,” he said.

Lt. Josh Veilleux, of the Winslow police, said that when state police spotted the suspect, he was shirtless and dirty and had scratches on him, probably because he had been running through nearby woods. Veilleux said the suspects had burglarized cars in the area, attempting to steal “whatever they could get,” be it sunglasses, loose change, GPS units or anything else available.

Wendy Clement, an employee at the Morning Sentinel, said she was taking her granddaughter to school Friday morning and was unaware a lockout had been declared.


She said she found out about it when another student mentioned it to her granddaughter. She said she “hated leaving” her granddaughter, and the situation was not explained to her immediately at the scene. She said if it weren’t for another student mentioning it, she wouldn’t have known what was happening.

“It was scary,” she said. “I didn’t know what was going on.”

She later heard the principal mention it was related to an incident down the road.

McGowen explained that a lockout means police maintain the building, all entrances are secured, and no one is allowed into the building, as there might be a threat outside the school. A lockdown, he said, occurs when there is a threat inside the school. During a lockdown, individual rooms are secured, but it does not necessarily mean the exterior doors are locked.

Eric Haley, superintendent of schools for Kennebec Valley Consolidated Schools, said the protocol for calling a lockout depends on the situation and who knows about it first. In this case, McGowen was the first to know about the situation, so he called for the lockout.

Haley said lockouts can be declared by building principals if they perceive a threat is imminent, or Haley himself can call one. When a lockout is declared, Haley said, the district will send out a robocall to parents and guardians alerting them about the situation. Once a lockout is declared, he said it is up to law enforcement to determine when the situation is resolved and call off the lockout.


“In this case the SRO knew before we did,” Haley said.

The superintendent said that even his office had a lockout this year when a parent called in a threat.

“We’re having more every year,” Haley said.

Colin Ellis — 861-9253

[email protected]

Twitter: @colinoellis

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