A Whitefield man faces felony theft and escape charges after allegedly confessing to a theft, then fleeing into the woods behind his residence Tuesday, May 20.
Jeffery Luce, 36, of 35 Hollywood Boulevard, also faces charges of burglary, criminal trespass, forgery, and violation of condition of release.
Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Detective Sgt. Ronald Rollins, Detective Scott Hayden, and K-9 Koda tracked Luce through the woods, where he was captured and arrested.
LCSO Lt. Michael Murphy described the incident in a press release.
The search and the subsequent arrest were the result of an investigation into the theft of several batteries from the Barlett’s Auto Sales in Whitefield May 6.
“The batteries were located and identified as the stolen items at a redemption center in Jefferson,” Murphy said in the press release. The redemption center’s owner said he had purchased the batteries from Luce.
Rollins interviewed Luce at his home the morning of Tuesday, May 20. “After a brief interview, Mr. Luce admitted his involvement, saying ‘it was all a mistake’ and he would return the batteries to the owner,” Murphy said.
“Mr. Luce was informed he was under arrest and would be transported to the Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset,” Murphy said. “Mr. Luce was allowed to go into another room to get dressed as he was still in his pajamas.”
Luce’s Wife, Naomi Luce, argued with Rollins about her husband’s arrest, Murphy said. “After she was calmed down, it was determined Mr. Luce has escaped from the residence through the basement.”
A number of deputies and Maine Warden Service personnel responded to search for Luce.
Hayden and Koda, with Rollins’ help, “began a track from the basement door that led them out into a densely wooded area,” Murphy said. After a 1 1/2-mile-long track through the woods, Luce was captured, arrested, and transported to the jail.
Luce faces felony escape and theft charges and a misdemeanor charge of violation of condition of release as a result of the alleged battery theft and escape.
He also faces charges of burglary, criminal trespass, forgery, and felony theft as a result of an investigation by Waldoboro Police Officer Larry Hesseltine.
Correction: A previous version of this story referred to the date of the interview, search, and arrest as May 13 due to an error in the press release.