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4/29/2014 4:00:00 PM
Boothbay Man Gets 4 Years for Stealing Jewelry
Keith R. Brewer
Keith R. Brewer
Tara L. Curtis
Tara L. Curtis
J.W. Oliver

A Boothbay man who was on probation for a Thanksgiving 2011 jewelry heist will serve four years in prison for stealing about $17,000 of jewelry in Boothbay Harbor last year.

Keith R. Brewer, 25, and his girlfriend, Tara L. Curtis, 23, of Boothbay, stole the jewelry and other valuables from Curtis' grandmother, according to court documents. The couple sold the items at antique dealers, jewelers and pawn shops around the area.

In a related case, Logan B. Shifflett, 22, of Boothbay, stole approximately $31,850 in jewelry from his girlfriend and her mother. The items included the mother's wedding ring, a $15,000 diamond solitaire with a gold band.

Shifflett, in his confession, told a police officer he estimated the value of the items at about $100. He said he traded the jewelry to Brewer for two bags of heroin.

Brewer and Curtis then sold the jewelry to Maine Gold & Silver in South Portland for $2,212.

Officer Jared Mitkus, then of the Boothbay Harbor Police Department, and Detective Sgt. Ronald Rollins, of the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office, investigated the case.

Brewer pleaded guilty to Class B theft by unauthorized taking Feb. 3. He was sentenced to eight years in prison with four years suspended. He will have to serve three years of probation after his release and pay $5,000 to compensate Curtis' grandmother.

His probation conditions prohibit the possession or use of alcohol or illegal drugs and require him to complete a substance abuse treatment program. If he violates any condition or fails to pay restitution, he could return to prison for up to the full eight years.

The district attorney dismissed a Class B count of theft by receiving stolen property in exchange for Brewer's guilty plea.

Brewer will serve his prison sentence at the same time as a sentence of three years and nine months for violating his probation for a 2011 burglary and theft.

Brewer and Nicholas J. Wallace, of Boothbay, burglarized Wallace's girlfriend's father's house on Thanksgiving Day in 2011, according to a statement by Mitkus.

Brewer and Wallace stole coin collections, gems and jewelry, including a Tag Heuer watch with a unique engraving, a gift from the victim's former employer. The watch would later resurface out of state and help police solve the case.

Wallace, in his confession to police, said he owed Brewer money for drugs and Brewer pressured him to commit the burglary to pay off his debt.

Brewer and Wallace owe the victim of the 2011 burglary $26,804 in restitution.

Brewer was originally sentenced Oct. 9, 2012 to four years in prison with all but 90 days suspended and three years of probation on the felony burglary and theft charges.

Curtis and Shifflett also pleaded guilty to the 2013 thefts.

Curtis pleaded guilty to felony and misdemeanor theft charges Feb. 13. She was sentenced to four years with all but 108 days suspended, followed by two years of probation. She has to pay $5,000 in restitution to her grandmother.

She has similar probation conditions regarding alcohol and drugs and substance abuse treatment.

Shifflett pleaded guilty to Class C theft by unauthorized taking, a felony, Feb. 18.

Shifflett's plea bargain delays sentencing for a year while he remains free on bail. He has the year to pay the first $5,000 of a total of $10,000 in restitution to his primary victim, his girlfriend's mother.

If he completes the first half of restitution payments and follows bail conditions, he will be sentenced to three years with all but 45 days suspended and two years of probation.

If he violates any condition, he could face up to the maximum penalty for a Class C crime, five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

The primary victims of the thefts, Curtis' grandmother and Shifflett's girlfriend's mother, were distraught at the loss of the expensive jewelry and family heirlooms, as well as the perpetrators' violation of their trust.

Shifflett's victim addressed the court in a letter. She "will never be able to replace the sentimental value" of the jewelry he stole, she said.

Always "a trusting person," she is now "more suspicious of everyone," she said. "It's so hard to believe that someone you took in, housed, fed, even clothed, would violate you by stealing your jewelry."

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