LISBON, Maine — A local transient formerly from Augusta was arrested Friday after he allegedly stole a pickup truck and numerous items from a Capitol Avenue business, then led a Lisbon police officer in a brief pursuit that ended with a more than 80-foot plunge down to the banks of the Androscoggin River.
Tony R. St. Pierre, 44, has been charged with burglary of a motor vehicle and operating under the influence, as well as felony crimes of burglary of a commercial building, theft, aggravated criminal mischief, unauthorized use of property, eluding a police officer and aggravated operating after habitual offender revocation, Detective William Tapley said Friday afternoon.
According to Tapley, the series of incidents that led to St. Pierre’s arrest began about 4 a.m., while Officer Ryan McGee was performing nightly routine business checks. Because of recent commercial burglaries in the area, Lisbon police had been conducting property checks throughout the night.
After property checks at Restorations Home Remodeling Business and surrounding businesses, McGee noticed a truck that had been parked next to the remodeling store earlier was missing, Tapley said.
Moments later, McGee saw the truck traveling north on Capital Avenue and then turning east onto Route 196. The officer followed the truck, observed erratic operation and attempted to stop the vehicle.
The truck, however, accelerated and a short chase on Route 196 followed, Tapley said.
St. Pierre try to elude McGee, driving at a high speed and forcing other vehicles onto the road’s shoulder and sidewalk. St. Pierre then led McGee onto Canal Street, where he was unable to negotiate the turn onto the Lisbon Falls/Durham Bridge and crashed through the guardrail, traveling more than 80 feet down to the riverbank of the Androscoggin River, the detective said.
Among the items St. Pierre is accused of stealing from the restoration store are truck keys, tools, business checks and clothing items. The stolen vehicle was demolished.
Further investigation indicated St. Pierre attempted to burglarize other businesses and motor vehicles in the Capital Avenue area.
Lisbon police also determined St. Pierre had been released from Kennebec County Jail on Thursday evening, Tapley said, adding that St. Pierre has an extensive criminal history, which includes burglary and theft convictions, and has spent many years in prison.
Tapley said St. Pierre, who suffered minor bruises, was taken to Central Maine Medical Center, where he was evaluated and medically cleared. The suspect then was taken into custody and brought to the Lisbon Police Department for questioning.
St. Pierre later was brought to Androscoggin County Jail, where he was being held Friday evening on a probation hold and $5,000 cash bail, Tapley said.