Bail set at $25,000 for pair accused of stealing 9 mm handgun, $176 in change in nighttime break-ins

Posted April 22, 2014, at 3:09 p.m.
Last modified April 22, 2014, at 5:49 p.m.

Randall Cressey

Contributed photo
Randall Cressey

William Cushman

Contributed photo
William Cushman

BANGOR, Maine — Two local men suspected of being part of a burglary ring that executed nighttime break-ins at homes in Bangor, Veazie and Orrington earlier this month made their first appearances before a judge Tuesday at the Penobscot Judicial Center.

William Cushman, 22, of Brewer and Randall Cressey, 23, of Hampden each are charged with one count of Class B burglary and Class C theft in separate break-ins. Cushman also is charged with Class B theft in connection with a break-in the night of April 10 and 11 at a home in Veazie in which a firearm, which has been recovered, was stolen.

Cressey was charged in connection with an Orrington burglary the night of April 11 and 12, according to the Penobscot County District Attorney’s Office. He allegedly stole two large containers of change then redeemed it, with the help of other suspects, for $176 in bills at a Bangor grocery store.

The men, who were arrested Friday, were not asked to enter pleas because they have not yet been indicted by a Penobscot County grand jury.

The men are scheduled to appear in court again on June 10.

District Court Judge Bruce Jordan set bail at $25,000 cash for each defendant — the amount recommended by the prosecutor due to the nature of the crimes and the men’s criminal histories.

“It is an extremely dangerous person who will take the risk to commit this kind of crime — breaking into homes in the middle of the night,” Jordan said in setting the high cash bail. “Twenty-five thousand dollars is very reasonable.”

Bail conditions include the men not having contact with each other and three others whom Stephen Burlock, assistant district attorney for Penobscot County, described as suspects in the case.

One of them, Courtney Braley, 18, of Bangor, was arrested with Cushman and Cressey but has not been formally charged by the district attorney’s office. The Bangor Daily News is not naming the others because they have not yet been arrested.

Braley is Cressey’s girlfriend and is five months pregnant, according to Joe Belisle, who acted as his attorney Tuesday.

The Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office said Saturday, when it announced that Cushman and Cressey had been arrested, that it expected more charges would be filed against the men and that other arrests were expected.

If convicted, the men face up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $20,000 on the Class B charges. They face up to five years in prison and fines of up to $5,000 on the Class C crimes. They also could be ordered to pay restitution to victims.

Trio arrested in connection with rash of break-ins in Orrington, Veazie

Posted April 19, 2014, at 2:54 p.m.

William Cushman

PHOTO COURTESY OF PENOBSCOT COUNTY JAIL
William Cushman

Randall James Cressey

PHOTO COURTESY OF PENOBSCOT COUNTY JAIL
Randall James Cressey

BANGOR, Maine — Three people have been arrested in connection with home invasions last weekend in Orrington and Veazie, according to the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office.

William Cushman, 22, of Brewer, Randall Cressey, 23, and Courtney Braley, 18, both of Bangor were arrested Friday in connection with five burglaries in Veazie and four in Orrington on April 11.

Information about the number of charges filed against each suspect was not released.

Cushman and Cressey remained Saturday at the Penobscot County Jail.

A joint investigation by the sheriff’s office and Veazie police led officers to the arrests, according to a news release issued by the sheriff’s office.

Some of the stolen items were recovered, including a missing firearm from a Veazie residence, Chief Deputy Troy Morton of the sheriff’s office said in the release.

The case remains under investigation, he said.

Veazie police officer lauded for saving UMaine chemistry student’s life

University of Maine chemistry student Bryer Sousa works in the lab with Barbara Stewart, a UMaine chemistry professor.

Courtesy of University of Maine
University of Maine chemistry student Bryer Sousa works in the lab with Barbara Stewart, a UMaine chemistry professor.

By Dawn Gagnon, BDN Staff
Posted April 16, 2014, at 1:16 p.m. Last modified April 17, 2014, at 9:03 a.m.

VEAZIE, Maine — Had it not been for a Veazie police officer, a promising University of Maine chemistry student likely would not have lived to see finals, not to mention graduation day.

Officer Matthew Parkhurst was on routine patrol about 1 a.m. April 4, when he noticed the taillights of a running vehicle parked in the Qualey Granite and Quartz parking lot on State Street, Sgt. Brian Nichols of the Veazie Police Department said.

Realizing that he had seen the same vehicle while conducting business checks two hours before, Parkhurst stopped to check up on the driver, Nichols said. Parkhurst quickly determined that the driver was not under the influence of drugs and alcohol but rather was suffering from a life-threatening medical emergency, the sergeant noted.

Parkhurst called for an ambulance, and the 19-year-old driver, UMaine student Bryer Sousa, was immediately taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center. He was treated for acute carbon monoxide poisoning, which Veazie police determined was the result of a mechanical malfunction that arose after Sousa dropped a friend off.

Sousa could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

“Due to Officer Parkhurst’s vigilant actions that night, the life of a promising young chemistry student at the University of Maine was preserved, and a tragic accident was averted,” Police Chief Mark Leonard said in his letter of commendation.

“Officer Parkhurst’s exceptional situational awareness, diligence and dedication to patrol reflect credit upon himself and the Veazie Police Department.”

Sousa, who is from Amesbury, Mass., was the recipient last year of a $10,000 Projects for Peace grant from the Davis Foundation that enabled a team of students and adult leaders, some of whom were UMaine scientists and engineers, to bring clean drinking water to more than 50 homes in the impoverished Trojes region of Honduras.

The project aimed to bring relief to the families of the Trojes region, as well as provide Sousa, who is pursuing a double major in chemistry and physics with a minor in mathematics, data for his research at UMaine focused on creating a more sustainable water-filtration system in underdeveloped countries through the use of nanofibrillated cellulose, according to a published report.

“Your saving him and others [has] a rippled effect on the rest of the world. He has so much more to do in his lifetime journey,” the student’s mother, Raylene Sousa, said in a letter to Parkhurst. “I have always called my son, my hero. Now I have two ‘sons’ I am proud of. Be safe and stay true.”

Sousa’s grandparents, Carol and George Casey, also wrote to the officer.

“Without your alertness to and action taken when you observed an auto parked with its motor running in a construction yard … we may have lost our oldest grandson, Bryer Sousa. There are no words that will fully express our gratitude for the actions taken by you in his behalf. We pray all the time for Bryer’s safety. You truly were his guardian angel that morning,” Sousa’s grandparents said.

According to the Veazie Police Department’s website, Parkhurst is a former Penobscot Regional Communications Center dispatcher and a graduate of the Maine Criminal Justice Academy. He also has worked for the Maine State Police and the Milo Police Department.