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June 25, 2013

Contributed photo

David W. Berube

Kennebec County burglary spree puts Gardiner man behind bars

By Betty Adams
badams@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA — A Gardiner man pleaded guilty to 27 crimes on Tuesday, all related to a burglary spree in which jewelry, electronics, tools, firearms and other valuables were stolen from homeowners across Kennebec County.

David W. Berube Jr., 35, admitted committing 10 burglaries, 12 thefts, two counts of criminal mischief and one count each of receiving stolen property, escape, and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person.

The crimes took place between Nov. 11, 2011 and Aug. 27, according to court documents.

Justice John Nivison imposed a sentence of 10 years in prison, with all but 3 1/2 suspended and three years probation. Berube also was ordered to pay up to $32,701 in restitution. The sentence was recommended jointly by Berube's attorney, Luann Calcagni, and by the prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Joelle Pratt.

Both attorneys said Berube's substance abuse problems motivated the crimes.

According to Pratt, Berube broke into a number of residences, sometimes alone, sometimes accompanied by other people, and stole mostly jewelry, which he then pawned at local shops.

"This is a case (where) both mental health and substance abuse problems run very deep and are profound," Calcagni told the judge. She said Berube was first evaluated for mental health problems at age 11.

She also said he was unable to be admitted to the Co-Occurring Disorders Court, which is designed for people with mental health and substance abuse disorders, because he lacked insurance coverage and any other means to pay for services.

Pratt outlined a series of burglaries that took place in Augusta, Farmingdale Fayette, Gardiner, Litchfield, Manchester, Pittston and Sidney, and he admitted illegally possessing a firearm in Waterville.

Firearms were taken in a couple of the burglaries. Prosecutors said another firearm was taken in a burglary and theft in Waterville in January, but a charge was not filed in that case. The judge ordered that $1,050 restitution to be included in the total amount.

Pratt said some victims wanted Berube jailed for a longer period and some wanted to be sure he got treatment. One woman who was a burglary victim was in the courtroom earlier, but leftbefore the hearing, Pratt told the judge.

Pratt also told the judge that Berube had an extensive criminal record involving drugs, forgery and other offenses.

Prior to Berube's guilty plea, one of his codefendants, Kellen A. Carter, 29, of Liberty, was sentenced to three years in jail, with all but 21 days suspended, and two years' probation, after admitting he was involved with an Aug. 27 residential burglary in Gardiner and possessing heroin Sept. 15 in Augusta.

Pratt said Carter was with Berube and had sold some jewelry taken from the home of an 87-year-old woman. Some of the jewelry was melted down; however some items were returned to the owner.

Pratt said Carter has been undergoing intensive outpatient substance abuse testament since fall of last year for his addiction.

Carter's attorney, Sherry Tash, said he continues in counseling and has done exceptionally well.

Carter was ordered to pay up to $8,500 restitution as part of his sentence.

Betty Adams — 621-5631
badams@centralmaine.com



Contributed photo

David W. Berube



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