12/16/2013 12:59:00 PM Boothbay Harbor Man Indicted for Alleged Burglary Spree
Ronald G. Fuller
By J.W. Oliver
A Lincoln County grand jury has indicted a Boothbay Harbor man for allegedly burglarizing and stealing from a long list of area homes and businesses.
The Dec. 11 indictment charges Ronald G. Fuller, 63, of 57 Crest Ave., with 59 counts of burglary, theft and related crimes.
Fuller allegedly burglarized the Gold/Smith Gallery in Boothbay Harbor and Wiscasset Cottage Antiques, as well as 19 private residences in Boothbay, Boothbay Harbor, Edgecomb and Southport.
Fuller allegedly committed the burglaries between Jan. 3, 2012 and March 1, 2013, a span of about 14 months. He allegedly burglarized seven Boothbay residences on one day, Oct. 25, 2012.
He would often steal jewelry, according to court documents, but would also take other items of value and even items of little apparent value. He allegedly stole a cannon from one Boothbay residence and a "firearm or explosive device" from another.
The indictment lists binoculars, cameras, coins, a compass, furniture, guitars, pottery, a purse, a signal cannon, silverware, sunglasses and tools among the items.
Other items include bags, a bar towel, belts, bottles, bus tokens, a cup, doorknobs, an incense holder, kaleidoscopes, marbles, a model ship-in-a-bottle, a pen, and a whistle.
Fuller entered the businesses and many of the residences by breaking a window or door, according to the indictment.
The 59 counts against Fuller include 21 counts of Class B and C burglary; 22 counts of Class B, C, D and E theft by unauthorized taking; 14 counts of Class D criminal mischief and one count each of Class C aggravated criminal mischief and Class D possession of burglary tools.
The maximum penalties for Class B, C, D and E crimes in Maine are 10 years incarceration and a $20,000 fine, five years and $5000, 364 days and $2000 and six months and $1000, respectively.
Fuller is due to appear in Lincoln County Superior Court at 8:30 a.m., Friday, Jan. 31, 2014.
He is currently in custody at the Strafford County Jail in Dover, N.H. He is not eligible for bail, a jail employee said. The employee did not know why Fuller was in a county jail in New Hampshire.
The Boothbay Harbor Police Department began investigating Fuller's connection to area burglaries the night of Jan. 21, after receiving a report of suspicious activity at Boothbay Region Greenhouses.
Sgt. Patrick Higgins and Officer Jared Mitkus tracked the man around Boothbay Harbor on foot, following his bootprints in the snow.
The man, during the pursuit, wrote "Love U" and a heart in the snow in a parking lot on Granary Way, according to an affidavit by Mitkus.
The pursuit ended at a driveway, where someone had swept the tracks away. The officers ran the plates of the vehicles in the driveway. Fuller's Ford Explorer was one of the vehicles.
Fuller had dropped an L.L. Bean backpack during the pursuit. The officers emptied the backpack and found jewelry, coins, silverware, women's underwear and family photographs, as well as a cap, flashlight, pocketknife, screwdriver and work gloves.
Mitkus, with the help of an airline stub in the backpack, traced the contents to a Boothbay Harbor residence. The residence, which was unoccupied at the time, had been burglarized.
The department collected DNA samples from the tools. The Maine State Police Crime Laboratory matched the DNA with DNA from an ax handle used in the burglary of a Woolwich residence.
The laboratory eventually matched the DNA to Fuller.
Fuller has a long criminal history, with convictions for felony assault and battery in 1968, when he was 17; felony breaking and entering with intent to commit larceny in 1973, felony burglary in 1975, misdemeanor theft in 1978, felony robbery in 1986 and felony firearms possession in 1998.
He is on federal probation for the last offense.
The Boothbay Harbor Police Department and U.S. probation officers executed a search warrant at Fuller's home March 26 and conducted a voluntary search of his brother's residence, where Fuller stored items in the basement, March 27.
The authorities seized evidence in "several burglary investigations" in the March 26 search and "a large amount of items of interest" in the second search, according to a March 29 press release from the Boothbay Harbor Police Department.
The seizure included "items from high-value commercial and residential burglaries" within a 25-mile radius of Boothbay Harbor, according to the press release.
The department and federal authorities subsequently began a search for Fuller, who walked away from his home during the March 26 search.
Two weeks later, on April 8, Fuller stole a 1971 Chevrolet Chevelle convertible from a Woolwich man and drove to St. Francois County, Mo. Sheriff's deputies in the county arrested Fuller at a campsite in the woods off a state highway April 10.
The deputies "recovered a large amount of cash and jewelry at the campsite," according to an April 11 press release from the St. Francois County Sheriff's Department.
Fuller pleaded guilty to transportation of a stolen vehicle and admitted to probation violations Nov. 8 in U.S. District Court in Portland, according to court records.
He is scheduled to be sentenced for the car theft at 10 a.m., Monday, Feb. 10, 2014. The Class C felony carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.