DIXFIELD — A Rumford man is scheduled to appear in court Friday, charged with trying to steal a vehicle from a fisherman at gunpoint last weekend, interim Police Chief Ron Wood said Thursday.

Vance Billings File photo

Vance Billings, 43, of 65 Washington St. was arrested Wednesday in Dixfield, four days after he eluded police by swimming across the Androscoggin River. He was taken to the Oxford County Jail in Paris and booked on charges of robbery, criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon, refusing to submit to arrest or detention and disorderly conduct.

He remained at the jail Thursday evening on $20,000 cash bail and a probation hold, a corrections officer said.

Wood said two juveniles told police Saturday that they were fishing behind the Opera House near the Androscoggin River when a man pointed a weapon at one of them and asked for their vehicle. He did not get it.

Around 4 p.m., police spotted Billings along the riverbank, threatening to jump into the river. Officers from Mexico and Rumford joined Dixfield in trying to apprehend Billings, with a game warden and state police joining in the effort. However, Billings eluded them by swimming across the river to an island and from there across to Peru, Wood said.

Billings was spotted on Brackett Street in Dixfield on Wednesday and taken into custody by Wood and a Mexico officer, Wood said.

“We’re very glad he made it to Oxford County Jail,” he said.


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