SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine — A South Portland man faces 2½ years in jail after burglarizing a dance studio in the city.

Eugene Wilcox, 43, was caught by South Portland police attempting to flee the Spotlight Dance and Performing Arts Center on Broadway with money and credit card information on April 12.

Wilcox on Tuesday changed his plea from not guilty to guilty on four charges related to the incident: burglary, theft by unauthorized taking, criminal mischief and refusing to submit to arrest.

In exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors from the Cumberland County district attorney’s office agreed to recommend concurrent 2½-year sentences for the felony burglary and theft charges, as well as concurrent six-month sentences for the two misdemeanor charges, to be served simultaneously with the felony sentences.

The end result will be that Wilcox spends 2½ years in prison for the crimes.

According to prosecutors, police answered a burglary alarm at the dance studio just after 1 a.m. on April 12, found the door damaged and surrounded the building. Wilcox then ran out one of the building’s doors and was tackled by Officer Chris Gosling, who found the suspect carrying a black bag of money and credit card information.

Investigators subsequently discovered that the dance studio’s stereos had been placed in bags inside the building when the police arrived and interrupted the crime.

Wilcox had been convicted of theft on at least two previous occasions, in 2004 and 2006, according to Cumberland County Superior Court Justice William Stokes, who presided over the man’s change of plea Tuesday.

Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.