WATERBORO — Michael Pradon had just driven home from the park with his 9-year-old daughter Sunday when he came face-to-face with a stranger standing in the doorway between his kitchen and living room.

Derek Tabox

The man was wearing Pradon’s clothes and apparently had been watching Pradon’s TV.

“What the … are you doing here?” Pradon asked. The man responded by asking him the same question, Pradon said.

The man then said he thought he was in a friend’s home. Only after Pradon agreed to give the man a ride, dropped him off in Hollis and returned home did he discover his house had been burglarized, he said.

The bizarre incident ended with the arrest later Sunday of 35-year-old Derek Tarbox of Standish, who is charged with Class B burglary, two counts of unauthorized use of property, leaving the scene of a property damage accident, failure to report an accident by quickest means and theft by unauthorized taking.

Tarbox was arraigned Wednesday at Springvale District Court, where a judge set bail at $1,000, according to a court clerk. The judge also indicated that Tarbox could be transferred to a mental health facility for treatment before his next appearance in Alfred Superior Court on Feb. 8.

According to an intake worker at the York County Jail, Tarbox was still being held in lieu of bail Wednesday evening.

‘I … ALWAYS LOOK FOR THE POSITIVE’

The back door of Michael Pradon’s home shows damage from the break-in.

York County Sheriff Bill King said the incident started Sunday when Tarbox stole a car in Portland and ran out of gas in Hollis, where he stole another car. He drove the second stolen car to Bennett Hill Road in Waterboro, where he drove off the road and crashed into the woods.

Tarbox then walked to Pradon’s house on Bennett Hill Road.

Pradon, who has lived in the house near the town transfer station for only about two months, said he arrived home with his daughter at around 4:30 p.m. after playing at a nearby park. He carried a tote into his house, then went back out to grab a second.

When Pradon walked in a second time, Tarbox was standing in the doorway between the kitchen and living room.

Pradon, 39, said he asked Tarbox what he was doing in the house and Tarbox asked the same of him, he said.

Tarbox, who was wearing a shirt, pants and shoes that belong to Pradon, said he thought he was in a friend’s house.

“He said his friends said he could hang out for the weekend and take a shower and that the door would be unlocked,” Pradon said.

Pradon, still shocked to find a stranger in his house, agreed to drive Tarbox to a nearby grocery store.

“I have a big heart and always look for the positive in people,” Pradon said Wednesday when asked why he gave Tarbox a ride instead of calling police.

‘COMPLETELY SHOCKED AND HORRIFIED’

Once Pradon, his daughter and Tarbox were in the car, Tarbox offered Pradon $30 for gas to drive him to a home in Hollis. Pradon said Tarbox seemed “out of it” during the ride and had trouble conversing. But he did not seem threatening and Pradon’s daughter was not scared during the incident, Pradon said.

When Pradon returned home and looked around, he found his back door had been kicked in and his bedroom ransacked. There also were signs that Tarbox had showered and eaten food in the bathroom. And the medicine Pradon uses to treat anxiety was gone, Pradon said.

He called police and made arrangements for his daughter’s mother to pick her up.

“I was completely shocked and horrified,” Pradon said. “It makes it hard to even want to sleep here at night.”

On Sunday, investigators went to the house in Hollis where Tarbox had been dropped off and were told that relatives had driven him to a house in Limerick. When deputies from the sheriff’s office and Maine State Police troopers arrived at the second house, Tarbox fled but was quickly apprehended without further incident, King said.

Tarbox was still wearing the clothes taken from Pradon’s house.

Gillian Graham can be contacted at 791-6315 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: grahamgillian


Comments are not available on this story.