Veazie Police solve multiple burglaries

VEAZIE, Maine — Two Hancock County men have been charged in connection with a series of burglaries that took place between late January and early February in a Veazie neighborhood.

Veazie Police Chief Mark Leonard said last week that two separate burglaries occurred on Jan. 23 on Jackson Drive and Buck Hill. One of those homes was burglarized a second time on Feb. 3. The suspects forced entry each time and left with checkbooks and electronics, according to Leonard.

“That’s a very nice area in there, and a lot of people in the neighborhood were very nervous,” Leonard said.

The owner of the checks informed police when a check that the owner didn’t write cleared after being used to make a purchase at the Circle K convenience store on Main Street in Bangor.

Police reviewed surveillance tapes, which showed a silver Jeep Grand Cherokee, and used it to compile a list of suspects.

Later, staff at the Finish Line in the Bangor Mall contacted police to notify them that Matthew Blethen, 19, of Ellsworth attempted to purchase about $500 in merchandise with a check that didn’t have his name.

“We were able to find Mr. Blethen and conducted a couple interviews with him,” Leonard said. Blethen confessed and identified another suspect, Gerald Williams, 18, of Bucksport, who also confessed after questioning.

Police filed charges on Feb. 28.

“They went through dresser drawers and medicine cabinets,” Leonard said. “They said they were looking for money. I’d question if that’s what they were really looking for.”

Leonard said the two men informed him that they thought they were still in Bangor when searching for homes that looked empty to break into.

Blethen faces three counts of burglary, two counts of forgery and two counts of negotiating a worthless instrument. Williams is charged with three counts of burglary.

Leonard said police in Veazie and other communities would be investigating whether the pair might be involved in other crimes in the area.

Both men are scheduled to appear in court April 18. (Nick McCrea, BDN)

VEAZIE, Maine — A local man who allegedly broke into neighbors’ homes in search of prescription drugs was arrested Friday on numerous charges, three of them felonies.

Eric Daniel Clifford, 25, is charged with two counts of burglary, stealing drugs, theft by unauthorized taking and two counts of criminal mischief, Veazie Police Chief Mark Leonard said Monday.

The two burglary charges and the charge of stealing drugs are Class C felonies, each punishable by up to five years in prison, fines of up to $5,000 or both.

The burglary charges are connected to break-ins on March 9 and March 15 at two condominiums at Veazie Villas, where Clifford lived with his grandmother until his arrest, Leonard said.

Evidence gathered at the two crime scenes pointed to Clifford’s involvement, Leonard said. He and Veazie police Officer Kevin Sirois interviewed Clifford on Friday and arrested him the same day.

“We got a confession. In writing,” Leonard said Monday.

The doors of units Clifford broke into were damaged but nothing appeared to have been taken during the burglaries because Clifford was seeking drugs, Leonard said.

Leonard said, however, that Clifford admitted he entered a third unit, invited, and while there stole prescription drugs and about $60 cash from a woman’s purse.

Clifford, who was taken to Penobscot County Jail after his arrest, was released on bail late Monday afternoon, the chief said.

According to the Bangor Daily News archives, the burglaries were not Clifford’s first brush with the law.

In 2005, Clifford was charged with seven counts of forgery in connection with checks he stole from the Bangor West Side Little League, wrote out to himself and then cashed.

Clifford had taken the checks from his father’s house where they were kept and from Aug. 31 to Sept. 7, 2005, forged his father’s signature on seven checks and cashed them at several convenience stores, a market and a supermarket, according to police reports.

Clifford was fined $500, sentenced to eight months in jail and one year of probation and ordered to pay $300 in restitution.