A Casco man is facing charges after he allegedly stole this truck, which was carrying gravestones and cemetery monuments, from the Hall Funeral Home in Casco on Saturday. Photo provided by Hall Funeral Home

A Casco man is facing charges after he allegedly stole a commercial vehicle that was carrying gravestones and cemetery monuments Saturday night from the Hall Funeral Home on Quaker Ridge Road in Casco.

The vehicle, which has a crane attached to it, is used to move cemetery markers, according to Naldo Gagnon, chief deputy for the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office.

Eric L. Nelson, owner and funeral director at Hall Funeral Home, on Sunday night said the truck contained two, slant faced stones and their bases, as well as one traditional upright family memorial with a base. Nelson said the stones and memorial stilled needed to be lettered and set this Spring ahead of their loved one’s interments. All three were unmarked.

“I am so glad that they were still intact and unharmed so that I’ll be able to keep my word and have them completed as I had promised,” Nelson said in an email.

In a news release issued Sunday, the Sheriff’s Office identified the suspect as Steven Locke, 32, of Casco. Locke has been charged with felony unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, violating his conditions of release, and operating with a suspended driver’s license. At the time of his arrest, Locke had 10 outstanding arrest warrants stemming from prior incidents with police, as well as 10 sets of preconviction bail conditions. Gagnon said that Locke did not explain his actions, asking instead for a lawyer.

The theft of the truck generated a lot of concern within the community as well as at the funeral home.

“This truck was loaded and prepped to deliver family stones and monuments so those have all been stolen as well. We are heartsick and heartbroken,” Hall Funeral Home wrote on Facebook, prior to the vehicle being found on Sunday.

According to Gagnon, deputies from the Sheriff’s Office responded at about 9:50 a.m. Sunday to a report of a vehicle that had been stolen from the funeral home. Deputies were informed that the vehicle was taken in the last 12 hours.

At about 12:20 p.m. Sunday, someone who was familiar with the stolen commercial vehicle contacted authorities about an unknown male operating the vehicle on Roosevelt Trail – also known as Route 302 – in Casco. That tip that allowed deputies to locate the stolen vehicle on Heritage Hill Road in Naples.

The Sheriff’s Office said Locke was arrested without incident and transported to the Cumberland County Jail in Portland, where he was being held Sunday night on $10,000 bail for the outstanding warrants and without bail on the felony theft charges.

Hall Funeral Home thanked the Casco community with assisting police in locating the stolen truck and its contents.

“We cannot thank you all, our community, family, neighbors and friends for their support. With the help of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department, who immediately jumped into action this morning and a gentleman who thought he saw the truck and called the police, everything has been found safely with no damage to anything at all,” Hall Funeral Home said in a statement. “Thank you is not enough. We are so grateful to our neighbors and friends, out entire community for helping find the individual and assisting in getting our property returned.”

Gagnon also thanked the community for assisting police with their search for the missing truck.

“Information was spreading throughout the community and the Sheriff’s Office was receiving multiple updates from area citizens regarding suspicious activity in the area during the morning hours,” the Sheriff’s Office said. “The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office would like to emphasize the importance of reporting suspicious activities within your communities. Observant community members often deter criminal activity and certainly can provide valuable information for investigations.”

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: