A 26-year-old Augusta man will serve four years in prison and must repay $40,950 for the June 2017 theft of an 80-year-old Wiscasset man’s safe.
Jake J. Pilsbury pleaded guilty May 15 to one count each of class B burglary and class B theft by unauthorized taking, according to court documents. He was sentenced to four years for each count. The sentences will run together and with sentences for 10 other crimes in four counties, so he will serve a maximum of four years.
Pilsbury stole a 2005 Chrysler Pacifica minivan from Topsham, drove it to Gardiner Road in Wiscasset, burglarized the 80-year-old man’s home, and stole the Sentry safe from the closet of a second-floor bedroom June 25, according to court documents. The safe contained $30,000-$40,000 in cash, mostly in $100 bills, as well as jewelry, legal documents, and 29-cent Elvis Presley stamps.
The homeowner is the grandfather of an acquaintance of Pilsbury’s, and Pilsbury was familiar with the home, according to an affidavit by the lead investigator, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Detective Scott Hayden. The homeowner reported the safe missing June 29.
Hayden learned that the morning after the burglary, Pilsbury drove to the Augusta apartment of Derrick U. Smith, 29. The pair went to a hotel in Waterville and spent some of the money on cocaine and ecstasy, as well as clothes.
The Portland Police Department arrested Pilsbury on an unrelated matter July 2, according to Hayden’s statement. He had $6,000 in cash, mostly $100 bills, and cocaine in his possession at the time.
On July 19, Hayden, with detectives from the Augusta Police Department and Maine State Police, executed a search warrant at Smith’s apartment on Washington Street in Augusta.
Smith confessed to his role in benefiting from the crime, according to the affidavit. He said he returned most of the jewelry and stamps to the homeowner’s grandson July 15. Police seized his new clothes, including a pair of Air Jordan sneakers, as well as four of the Elvis stamps.
Police located the stolen minivan on York Street, about 1/10-mile from Smith’s apartment.
In another local case, Pilsbury pleaded guilty to one count each of class C theft by receiving stolen property, priors, and class D attempted theft by extortion, according to court documents. He received one year for each count.
In the extortion case, Pilsbury obtained a stolen cellphone and told the owner she could have it back for $100, but if she called the police and didn’t pay, he would break the phone, according to an affidavit by Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Detective Terry Michaud.
Michaud arrested Pilsbury on April 21.
The same day as the sentencing in the Lincoln County cases, Pilsbury received his sentences for eight crimes in other jurisdictions: drug trafficking in Cumberland County, four counts of theft in Kennebec and Sagadahoc counties, a bail violation, and motor-vehicle offenses.
Pilsbury also has at least four prior convictions for theft in Kennebec and Lincoln counties, according to court documents.
Pilsbury is in custody at the Maine State Prison in Warren, according to the Maine Department of Corrections.
The Augusta Police Department, Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, Maine State Police, Topsham Police Department, and Wiscasset Police Department assisted in the investigation of the safe theft.
Assistant District Attorney Matthew Gerety prosecuted the Lincoln County case.
Three attorneys represented Pilsbury at various times. Andrei R. Maciag, of Andrus Law LLC in Brunswick, was his attorney at the time of sentencing.
Smith, Pilsbury’s co-defendant in the Wiscasset case, pleaded guilty Nov. 6, 2017 to one count of class B theft by receiving stolen property, according to court documents. He was sentenced to five years in custody with all but nine months suspended, plus two years of probation. He was ordered to pay $29,500 in restitution.
Pilsbury and Smith have “joint and several” responsibility for the restitution, which means they can split the restitution, but if one fails to pay, the other remains responsible for the full amount.
In the meantime, the $6,000 recovered at the time of Pilsbury’s arrest will be returned to the victim, according to Gerety.
As of Friday, May 18, Smith had an active warrant for his arrest for probation violations.
After his release from jail, Smith moved in with relatives in Aroostook County, according to court filings by his probation officer. However, Smith soon returned to Augusta. He overdosed on heroin May 6 and was revived with two doses of the overdose-reversing drug naloxone.
Officers planned to arrest Smith for probation violations upon his discharge from a local hospital, but a breakdown in communication resulted in his discharge, according to the probation officer.
Among the probation violations, Smith did not obtain permission to change his address, did not notify law enforcement that he was on probation during the encounter in Augusta, used heroin, did not enroll in counseling for substance abuse, and did not make any restitution payments, according to court documents.
Smith’s whereabouts were unknown as of May 18.