February 14, 2012

Teen charged with vandalizing Ayla's home

By Ben McCanna bmccanna@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

WATERVILLE — Police have filed charges in connection with vandalism earlier this month at the house where Ayla Reynolds was reported missing.

Jeremy Hanson, 19, of 1372 Main St., Clinton, was summoned Monday night on charges of criminal mischief and violating conditions of release.

Hanson admitted using a baseball bat to smash two windows at the home at 29 Violette Ave., according the Waterville police Chief Joseph Massey.

Earlier Monday evening, Officer Alden Weigelt, acting on an anonymous tip, called Hanson into the station for questioning. Hanson appeared at the police station voluntarily, Massey said.

On Feb. 3, Hanson parked one street over from the home and walked to the home with a bat, then fled to his car and drove away, Massey said.

After driving away, Hanson disposed of the bat in a trash bin, but police have been unable to find it, Massey said.

Waterville police responded to the house the night of Feb. 3 after a 911 call from homeowner Phoebe DiPietro. She is the mother of Justin DiPietro, who reported his daughter, Ayla Reynolds, missing on the morning of Dec. 17. Phoebe DiPietro reported someone was throwing things through windows.

At the time, Massey said the incident was disturbing.

"I'm simply not going to tolerate having someone go up and harass people, damage their property," he said during a news conference the following day. "Whoever went there knew that there were people inside the house, including a small child. Breaking windows with that much force, sending glass flying all over the place, waking people up at that hour of the night, exposing them to the cold, possible injury — I think it's pretty low, kind of cowardly."

Phoebe DiPietro was home at the time of the vandalism; as was her daughter, Elisha DiPietro, who is Justin's sister; and Elisha's 19-month-old daughter, Gabrielle, Ayla's cousin.

Criminal mischief, a Class D misdemeanor, carries a jail sentence of no more than one year and a fine of no more than $1,000. Massey added that he hopes Hanson will be required to pay for the damages, estimated at $300.

Hanson is not related to Jeff Hanson of Portland, who maintains www.aylareynolds.com.

Morning Sentinel Staff Writer Ben McCanna can be contacted at 861-9239 or at: bmccanna@centralmaine.com

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