ROCKLAND — A 56-year-old South Thomaston man was arrested Thursday after police say he was driving a pickup truck stolen five days earlier from outside a Rockland restaurant.

And the district attorney’s office is investigating whether the suspect brought the stolen vehicle to court earlier in the day when he appeared for a hearing on unrelated charges.

Damon Rice was arrested April 25, alleged to have committed the offenses of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, operating a motor vehicle while suspended, and violating of conditions of release, according to the Knox County Sheriff’s Office.

The truck had been parked at the Landings Restaurant Saturday morning April 20 when its owner had gone inside for a few minutes. The vehicle was stolen while the owner was inside.

According to police, a citizen spotted the vehicle about 2 p.m. Thursday being driven on Ingraham Drive in Owls Head by an unknown man. Deputies responded to the area and located the vehicle on the Dublin Road.

A witness, who was doing yard work, saw deputies and advised them that the operator of the truck pulled into the driveway and walked away. Deputies searched the area and found the man walking on Buttermilk Lane in South Thomaston. Deputies made contact with the man and after an interview, arrested Rice.

The Rockland Police Department was advised of the recovery and took possession of the vehicle.

Rice was in court earlier Thursday on unrelated charges of unauthorized use of a vehicle and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. He pleaded guilty but the judge agreed delay the start of Rice’s jail sentence until May 3.

Surveillance video from the courthouse parking lot will be obtained to determine whether he brought the vehicle to court.

He was back in court Friday where he pleaded not guilty to the new charges. Judge Paul Mathews agreed to revoke his stay of a jail term imposed Thursday and Rice was taken back to the Knox County Jail.


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