ROCKLAND — A 29-year-old Pennsylvania man whose disappearance led to a land, sea and air search pleaded guilty Tuesday to breaking into a home and damaging it.

Thomas W. Hackett of Perkiomenville was arrested March 3 by the Knox County Sheriff’s Office and charged with Class B burglary, theft, and criminal mischief. He was taken to the Knox County Jail in Rockland and has been held since then, in lieu of $5,000 cash.

Thomas W. Hackett Photo courtesy Knox County Sheriff

On April 7, Hackett pleaded guilty in Knox County court to the three charges in a deferred disposition. Under the terms, Hackett was released and will serve no additional time in jail if he adheres to conditions of the deferred disposition.

If he meets those terms, including counseling, restitution of $975 and having no contact with several of the victims, the burglary charge will be dismissed and he will receive time served for the theft and criminal mischief.

The court and jail have been trying to reduce the number of inmates in the event that there is a COVID-19 outbreak at the corrections facility.

If Hackett violates the agreement, he will be sentenced for all three offenses and could face up to five years in prison.

As with all the other cases heard in the court, the district attorney’s office was represented via telephone speaker system, the inmate was present via video conferencing from the jail, and the defense attorney – Jeremy Pratt in this case – remained in the public gallery section of the courtroom. Judge Paul Mathews presided over the hearing.

The Sheriff’s Office began investigating the missing person complaint in Owls Head Feb. 22 after family members arrived at another family’s vacant residence on Hendrickson Road in Owls Head, and found Hackett’s vehicle in the driveway. He also wrote on the exterior of the house, indicating a suicide threat.

Deputies checked further around the property and found a single set of footprints leading to the water where a pair of shoes and food items were left on the rocks near the water’s edge.

An investigation determined he wrote on two doors of the house with permanent marker, damaged a door and stole a kayak. A search found tracks on Sheep Island and a skinned coyote or fox. The pelt was identified as something Hackett owned.

Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport contacted the Sheriff’s Office Feb. 24 to report that Hackett was in the emergency room.

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