January 23

Generator stolen from Hartland Manor retirement home

Fairfield company supplies new generator at cut rate after someone walks off with 400-pound piece of equipment.

By Doug Harlow dharlow@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

HARTLAND — Tilly Veara noticed the generator at Hartland Manor was not in its usual spot on Sunday, but said she didn’t give it much thought.

click image to enlarge

SECURE: Dick Thorndike, manager of the Hartland Manor, beside a new generator that is chained to the building on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014, after it was discovered that thieves stole their previous generator last weekend.

Staff photo by David Leaming

Richard Thorndike, manager of the housing complex, might had taken the 6,500-watt Honda generator in for servicing.

But he hadn’t. The generator, valued at $2,500 and a necessary piece of equipment for the 24-unit complex, had been stolen.

“That generator is very important,” Veara, 74, said Thursday. “We won’t have heat without it and we have lights that go on in the hallway and we need the lights. We would have had to leave the place. I noticed it was gone, but I didn’t know it was stolen.”

Thorndike said when he finally realized Tuesday afternoon that the generator had been stolen, he contacted the Somerset County Sheriff’s Department. Deputy Wilfred Dodge was sent to investigate. Thorndike said the generator, weighing around 400 pounds, had been stolen sometime overnight Saturday.

The case remains under investigation, with no leads and no suspects, Chief Deputy Dale Lancaster said Thursday.

“It’s a thing that’s set there outside the main entrance — you see it, but you don’t,” Thorndike, 82, said. “We use it when we have no power — people here have oxygen — it’s very, very important; I have to have heat in here. We lose our power a lot here.”

Thorndike said he called the company that owns the housing complex in Lorain, Ohio, and reported the theft to them. A supervisor at United Properties said the company would authorize the purchase of a new generator from Hartland Manor’s emergency reserve account.

Thorndike said he spoke with Teague Distributors of Fairfield and they quoted him a price just above cost — about $1,300 — and delivered it free of charge. The new generator is chained to the wall where the old one had been left unprotected.

“They probably just unplugged it, wheeled it out. A couple guys then loaded it — it weighed 350-400 pounds,” Thorndike said. “I hope they needed it more than I did.”

Thorndike said he’d like to pay the money back to the parent company. But without donations, that probably won’t be possible.

“I’ll just have to bite the bullet,” he said.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367 dharlow@centralmaine.com Twitter: @Doug_Harlow

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