BELFAST, Maine — The vandalism that greeted the downtown on the morning of Aug. 8 was disheartening to business owners, many of whom were enjoying one of the best tourism seasons in years.

The downtown streets had been spruced up to welcome those many visitors, and the vandalism tarnished the small-town charm.

A window was broken at MacLeod’s Furniture and plants had been ripped from flower boxes on High Street.

At the City Park, it was worse. A snack booth had been broken into and a soda machine overturned.

At the park pool, where scores of children found relief from the summer heat each day, it was worse still. A liquor bottle had been smashed in the pool, and the lifeguard stand pushed into the water. The broken glass meant the pool had to be drained and cleaned, keeping it closed for days.

One of the three men charged with aggravated criminal mischief in connection with the vandalism spree is vowing to mark that day as a turning point in his life.

Damion Saucier, 19, of Belfast wrote a letter to the city earlier this month taking responsibility for his role in the vandalism. Acknowledging his actions were “wrong and shameful,” he wrote “to show you that I know this was a grievous mistake and not something that will be repeated in the future.”

He also offered to do volunteer work on any city projects.

Speaking to the BDN on Friday, Oct. 19, Saucier shook his head and cast his eyes downward when asked if such acts had been a regular problem for him.

“This is the first time I’ve done something like this before,” he said. “It was pretty unlike me.”

He struggled with the inevitable “Why?” question.

“I can’t attribute that to anything but my own stupidity,” he said.

Saucier and the other men who were charged — Jacob Denham, 21, and William Hurley, 20, both of Belfast — had gotten alcohol from an area convenience store and drank, police have said. After walking to the park pool, climbing the fence and jumping into the water and swimming around for an hour, Saucier said things took a turn for the worse.

The lifeguard stand was pushed into the water, and the destructive actions escalated.

Saucier, who lives with his mother in Belfast, dropped out of Belfast Area High School as a junior.

“School never really clicked with me,” he said, in part because he found himself frequently questioning directives.

“I like to ask ‘Why?’” he said. “I was never really accepting of people telling me this is the way you have to do things.”

Saucier tried BCOPE, the district’s alternative high school designed for those at-risk of dropping out, and though that program was better suited to his needs, he did not graduate.

Saucier is particularly interested in science and mathematics, and speaks with some enthusiasm about recent technological breakthroughs in the field of nanorobotics, something he has read about.

He knows he needs more education, and is exploring the option of attending the private alternative Community School in Camden. He also has thought about studying business and starting his own pawn shop.

At present, though, he has no job and no drivers license. He has been outside the state just three times on trips to Canada and New Hampshire.

He doesn’t believe he has a substance abuse problem.

“I’ve never had a problem with alcohol, or with anything,” he said.

Saucier speaks of a recent period of his life in which he retreated into himself, a period of “self-pity, self-loathing,” in which he felt like “a room without walls,” passing through the world without connecting with it.

“I never thought I was going to amount to anything,” he said.

One place that gave him some sense of belonging was Belfast’s The Game Loft, a clubhouse on Main Street run as a nonprofit by Ray and Patricia Estabrook. It’s a place where teens and pre-teens hang out and play card and roleplaying games.

Saucier figures he has been active there for ten years, most recently as a volunteer.

In his letter, and in the BDN interview, he argued that teens need more recreational and social opportunities. Other than The Game Loft, YMCA and Skate Park, there are few places “where teens can go to gain a social belonging,” he wrote. And those three places tend to attract individual cliques, he said.

“The town should focus a little more on options for them,” he said, explaining that, in his view, society has little to offer those in the years between daycare and adulthood.

Saucier hopes the incident can mark a turning point in his life.

“I hope having this experience earlier that later [in life] will benefit me,” he said.

The charges have not been resolved in court yet.

31 replies on “After vandalism spree, Belfast teen wants to get back on track”

  1. So this is the little punk who ruined the end of summer swimming at the city pool.  My son and I went to the pool the day, as we do once or twice a week during the summer, after this happened and were shocked to find the pool closed and the snack shack closed. I spoke to the shop keeper and owner of the snack bar and he showed me all of the damage, which was quite extensive.

    It’s easy to say your sorry after the fact but only time will tell if he truly is sorry. I hope he truly is and maybe reading my first hand account of how he disrupted a small piece of the summer fun my son and I enjoy together will help to emphasize what a poor decision he made.  

  2. Hopefully he’ll think about getting his GED. The letter at least shows the slightest bit of maturity, and we all make mistakes. Hopefully it’s not a recurring theme. Way to man-up.

  3. Manipulative. I don’t hear anything in this article that comes close to accepting responsibility. This guy is 19 not 12. Get a job. Join the Army. Get a life. Hard work cures a lot of problems. Hanging out with trouble makers leads to trouble. Blaming alcohol is a weak excuse. Just saying “I’m sorry” works for a child. Not so much for a man acting like a child.

    1. Well said Harry…I do however agree with him about nothing to do in Belfast…It is a no fun zone that just caters to old hippies , artsy types and tourists…They killed the Bay Festival…They even thought about banning Harleys..You can’t even open a daycare or build a new Sheriff’s office without a major fight…Not everybody likes to sit and stare at the water…

      1. Really?Belfast was named as one the top “coolest places to live” recently! Too bad about the Bay Festival.what happened with that? And,come on,you know what the ‘loud motorcycle ‘thing is about..If not,Take a walk on the sidewalk when 8 or 10 of these really loud toys run thru town.Its painful.Still,its too bad about the Broiler/Holy Mackerel/Bay festival…

        1. Rated by who ?? LOL…What happened to the Boiler/Bay festival was it was tossed out of the park because it tore up the grass a bit if it rained and they wanted to plant more flowers … I QUOTE from The Republican Journal “we don’t want to attract that kind of crowd to the downtown” when it was suggested it be moved to the waterfront…The Holy Mackerel tournament just never took off..Point is there really isn’t much for kids in Belfast…

    2.  “I like to ask ‘Why?’” he said. “I was never really accepting of people telling me this is the way you have to do things.”

      Other issues aside, he does NOT sound like a good fit for any of the armed services.

  4. I wish you the best. I respect the strength it takes to come public and admit it. God Bless and don’t mind the naysayers.

  5. It’s  a  nice start.  But he’s going to have to work for years to overcome his now-tarnished reputation…In short, you have a lot of work to do to offset our mis-trust of you.

  6. I hope the guy turns out ok.  One common thread through most of these stories of young adults in trouble is that there is no father in the house. If a couple has a kid, they should stay together and raise him.  Don’t bail out like a selfish coward. If you have trouble in your marriage – that’s up to you to fix.

  7. Here’s hoping that your life is turning to the positive and I wish you well proving your sorry and manning-up. To the naysayers don’t judge this young man for a stupid act of ignorance but embrace him and help him to become a role model not a career criminal. Also to the naysayers look back in your whole life and tell me that you have never made a serious mistake in your life that you wish you could take back. I have made mistakes in my life and am sorry but I became a responsible adult and learned from mistakes as well as life lessons. My advice to Damien is get your education and reach for the stars because they are obtainable with honesty, hard work and a conscious for your actions. Best of luck young man for respect for yourself and others is a virtue not weakness and the lesson you have learned at 19 will be seared into your conscious and you have to choose the right path at this fork in the road. After writing this comment I found another article about this young man in the BDN in 2011. Interesting read and may Damian remember this as positive and the vandalism as a negative as in everyone of us is good and bad but we all hope we are 99% and at least 1%bad as I have never met anyone who is perfect.

  8. Vandalism sprees,vehicular homicide,drug dealers,murderers, burghers ,thieves 

    Anyone else noticing these criminals in this state are being turned into folk heroes ?

      1. I guess you have missed reading the many news stories of Maine teenagers and young adults , killing other people and or themselves with their vehicles recklessly, then the friends  and family members come on here, throwing up how their piece of garbage is a good boy

    1. This kid was in trouble,looking for a place to stay,3 years ago.Its not going to get any better,unless HE wants it to.

    2.  Exactly my thinking — why on earth did he write the letter to the city and let this become “news”?  This isn’t news, but certainly is a vainglorious path on the road to self-absorption!  Too many of those in our lives now!  He is 19, still does nothing, has no plans and wants no advice from anyone.  Why on earth was this “NEWS”??

  9. Listning to some of these comments, I think we need to give the guy a chance. We all have made mistakes, and in some cases stupid. I am certainly glad listening to some of these comments that, when they were 18-20 or around that age that they did not make any mistakes stupid or otherwise. I pray the best for him.

    1. true, he just got caught. I’m sure no one in this room did anything wrong when they were teens! He might turn out ok. at the least, he conveys guilt.

  10. Great. he wants to get back on track. So what is stopping him? He is the only one who can truly get in his way, or make himself succeed.

    1. Not for everybody…If there was anything to build around here he could jump into a trade which is what USED to happen…Work with your hands…But that’s a dying thing here in the Build Absolutly Nothing Anywhere Near Anything state..

  11. Stole a bunch of cars when I was young. dropped out of school,   drank too much, “ruined my reputation” which was already ruined by my becoming a teenager.

    Judge gave me a break / I was 17. 

    Small town was never going to fit in…So

    I packed a backpack and walked across the North American continant.  From New York City to Corvallis Oregon, where I got a job in the Corvallis Children’s Farm Home and began to learn that my life was a breeze compared to these unfortunate children.

    My advise Damion / and I know you propably don’t take advise from adults, but I’m giving it anyway/
    is finish your restitution, say you are sorry to the folks you wronged, and get-the-hell out of Dodge.

    I found that folks out west have a different view then here in the East.  They don’t much care what you did yesterday, they want to know what you are doing today.  Take a year off.  see the Country…It is a great country still… work on a ranch, work in North Dakota’s Oil fields (plenty of good paying work out there) Try Texas there’s plenty of work there too.  Then if you want, return with your references and do something here. 

    Too many folks think that there is nothing beyond their small experience.  Life is more than just New Hampshire and Eastern Canada. 

  12. The article doesn’t mention anything about his court date. It’s just a ploy to get off easy. But the again with the judges here in Maine he hasn’t anything to worry about.

  13. Vandalism and Nanorobotics?…oh, how times have changed…This kid is screaming for a focus in life with not enough discipline to get started in a positive direction and not enough patience to suffer through the basics, like many kids that age do.
    There was a time when doing things like vandalism meant that his folks would kick his a**, drag him down to the town pool, make him clean and fix everything, take away any privileges and lock him in his room for a few months to focus on homework and “reflect” on his actions.  I guess people are just too busy working (or whatever) these days to guide kids behavior like this in a better direction. Too bad it had to come down to the legal system. It will stay with him for the rest of his life when most likely all he needed was to be challenged by something positive.
    Move past it and find your focus, man.

  14. BS detector is SOUNDING OFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The young people are ‘bored’, ‘they dont have anything to do ‘ Open up a book.

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