April 2, 2013

Public tips lead to arrest in Skowhegan burglary

Police say a second suspect is likely to be charged.

By Rachel Ohm rohm@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

SKOWHEGAN — Police arrested a man last week in connection with a West Front Street burglary and said Monday they probably will charge another suspect as well.

click image to enlarge

Tyler James Leh, 19, of Chester County, Pennsylvania

Contributed photo

Tyler James Leh, 19, of Chester County, Pa., was charged with burglary, theft and criminal mischief for allegedly breaking into the West Front Street Market on Wednesday and taking alcohol and cigarettes, said Detective Ron Blodgett of the Skowhegan Police Department.

It was the fourth burglary at the store in the last five years, owner Louann Barnes said. The market also was burglarized about a year ago in a break-in that turned out to be connected to a serious stabbing at a Skowhegan apartment complex.

Barnes said she was impressed that police were able to make an arrest after Wednesday's incident. "It makes me feel better," she said.

Blodgett said he received a tip from a member of the public who lived in a Main Street apartment building where Leh was staying with a friend and that the tip helped lead to Leh's arrest Friday afternoon.

"It is important for the public to be involved, and this arrest would not have been possible without their involvement," said Blodgett.

He said there probably will be another arrest in the case and that police are still investigating other suspects. Maine State Police and the Somerset County Sheriff's Department canine unit are also involved in the case, Blodgett said.

On Wednesday, police responded to a report of a burglar alarm around 10:45 p.m. at the store. Security tapes later revealed a man hanging around outside the store and looking into the windows, then throwing a large piece of pavement through the store's glass front door, Barnes said.

The man in the security videotape took about 30 packs of cigarettes and a bottle of Captain Morgan rum and fled, she said.

The estimated cost of the damages, which include damages to the door and its frame, and stolen property are about $2,000, she said.

The theft on Friday was at least the fourth in recent years, according to Barnes.

In February 2012, the store was burglarized and robbed in a break-in that resulted in about $2,500 worth of stolen and damaged property, she said.

In that incident, Nathaniel Todd Knight, of Skowhegan, was convicted of burglary and theft and sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison. He also was convicted of elevated aggravated assault for a stabbing at Indian Ridge, a Skowhegan apartment complex, which occurred on the same night, shortly after the break-in.

Thefts also were reported in March 2010 and February 2007.

Leh is on probation for a conviction of theft by receiving stolen property in Pennsylvania. He is scheduled to appear May 15 in Skowhegan District Court for arraignment.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368
rohm@mainetoday.com

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