Maine’s high court will hear arguments next week about whether cellphone records can be used in the trial of one of three men accused of committing a series of break-ins across the state during 2015.

The oral arguments will be heard Tuesday before the Maine Supreme Judicial Court in the case of Michael J. Warner II, 40, of Portland.

Warner was a suspect in 25 nighttime break-ins at businesses. Police estimated that the losses totaled more than $200,000.

The Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office is appealing a judge’s ruling from last year that the affidavit filed in court to obtain a search warrant for Warner’s cellphone records did not provide sufficient probable cause.

The state will also argue that the good-faith exception should have been applied in this case in terms of the search.

Assistant District Attorney Carlos Diaz will represent the state. Christopher Guillory will represent Warner.


Warner was sentenced last week in Cumberland County to 40 months of time served on a violation of probation from an earlier felony theft case. He has been held since his arrest in October 2015 and remains in jail in lieu of bail on the numerous burglary and theft cases.

Warner was one of three men arrested at that time for the numerous break-ins.

Taylor Shultz, 38, of Limerick, pleaded guilty June 22 in Cumberland County Superior Court in Portland to three counts of burglary. His sentencing will await the conclusion of the cases involving co-defendants Warner, and the other co-defendant Charles York, 41, of Portland.

The three men were arrested in October 2015 and indicted in February 2016.

The charges were connected to burglaries at J.C. Penney in Rockland on Sept. 3, 2015 in which more than $10,000 worth of merchandise was stolen, Townline Video Plus in Warren on Aug. 24, 2015, in which more than $10,000 in goods was reportedly taken; Flagship Cinema in Thomaston on Aug. 31, 2015, in which more than $1,000 was taken; and Lincoln Country Store in Warren on May 24, 2015, where more than $1,000 was stolen.

Warner and York have also been charged with 15 counts out of Cumberland County and six counts out of Kennebec County. Those break-ins occurred at Wescott & Sons tractor in Gorham, Tobey’s General Store in China, the American Legion in Augusta, the Shop n’ Save in Gray, Dunkin Donuts in Scarborough, the Clam Bake restaurant in Scarborough and Twin’s Country Store in Augusta.


An affidavit filed by police to arrest the three in 2015 stated that the men were suspected in up to 25 nighttime business break-ins around the region. After their arrest, police said multiple searches were conducted and stolen property and drugs were recovered. More than 80 items of evidence were seized, according to police. The total value of the items stolen and the damage to the businesses exceeds $200,000.

Charges filed in Knox County against Shultz were formally dismissed last year following his guilty pleas in Portland. He is free on bail awaiting sentencing.

The case started to break when the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office responded to a July 30, 2015, burglary and theft at Tobey’s Grocery in China, according to the affidavit.

Video surveillance from the store showed two men walking from a park-and-ride parking lot next to the store and breaking into the grocery. The two were wearing camouflage masks and hats. In the video, after the pair leaves, a dark-colored four-door Volkswagen sedan is seen driving through the parking lot.

The Maine State Police were called in because of similar commercial burglaries in which phone and cable lines were cut before the perpetrators entered the businesses.

Later that day, police were informed that an employee of a Cumberland Farms store in Brunswick had found a blue money bag in the store’s dumpster with checks made out to Tobey’s Grocery.


Surveillance video from the Cumberland Farms showed a Volkswagen sedan pulling into the parking lot, the driver getting out, removing items from the trunk and walking toward the dumpster. The video then showed him returning to the car without anything in his hands, the police affidavit states.

One of three individuals also captured on video entering the store at that time was recognized by state police as Warner.

Because Warner had lived in Biddeford, state police sent photographs of the three to Biddeford police. That department was able to identify Shultz from the photos, according to the affidavit. York also was later identified by police from the video.

A check of the Maine Department of Motor Vehicles found that Warner owned a dark-colored four-door Volkswagen Passat that matched the vehicle seen in the videos from China and Brunswick.

Police obtained a search warrant for Warner’s and Shultz’s cellphone records and found that Shultz’s phone had gone from Biddeford to near Tobey’s Grocery in China at the time of the burglary. The phone was then tracked to the Cumberland Farms store in Brunswick at the time the three men were seen on video.

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