James Berube, a 6-foot-tall, 180-pound white male with blond hair and blue eyes, was reported missing from a worksite in Machias on Thursday. Credit: Courtesy of Maine Department of Corrections

A man who was sentenced to 12 years in prison with all but five years suspended for kidnapping, arson and various other convictions went missing from a worksite in Machias on Thursday.

James Berube had been assigned by the Down East Correctional Facility, where he was serving his sentence, to work at Maine Wild in Machias. As of 12 a.m. Thursday, Berube had gone missing from the job site, according to Maine Department of Corrections spokesperson Marci Moody.

Berube is described as a 6-foot-tall, 180-pound white male, with blond hair and blue eyes. He was last seen wearing blue jeans, a black and blue hooded sweatshirt and a denim jacket.

Berube was sentenced to time at the correctional facility for kidnapping, burglary, theft, arson and eluding an officer.

The convictions stem from a series of events in June 2019, when Berube led police on a chase through Hancock County. Before his arrest on June 9, 2019, Berube set suspicious fires and then tied up a Baileyville woman and stole her truck, according to police.

The then-21-year-old man had knocked on the door of a woman who lived in Baileyville on the morning of June 9 and asked the woman for a ride into Machias.

When the woman refused, Berube allegedly attacked the woman, tied her up and then left the premises with her truck. He also destroyed a number of items in the house, including the woman’s phone, so she couldn’t call for help, according to Baileyville police. A neighbor heard the woman calling out about an hour after Berube had left the property, and called in help. The woman was not seriously injured.

Berube had also been accused of starting suspicious fires earlier on the morning of June 9 in Princeton and Indian Township that damaged three buildings, according to the Maine fire marshal’s office.

From Baileyville, Berube drove the truck to Ellsworth, where he was spotted by an Ellsworth police officer who attempted to stop him. Berube then sped off, leading police toward Trenton at speeds of 75 and 80 miles per hour.

A short time later, the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department located the truck — a 2017 Chevrolet Silverado — at the Trenton Marketplace IGA supermarket on Route 3 in Trenton. Berube was not in the vehicle at the time, but was  located by police and arrested at gunpoint on the evening of June 9, 2019, at Dysart’s Moose Crossing store in Trenton.

He was indicted on charges of reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon, eluding an officer, driving to endanger, operating without a license, criminal speed and refusing to submit to arrest by a Hancock County grand jury in October 2019, the Ellsworth American reported.

Anyone with information about Berube’s whereabouts can contact the Maine Department of Corrections at 207-592-1671 or 207-285-0880.

Leela Stockley is an alumna of the University of Maine. She was raised in northern Maine, and loves her cat Wesley, her puppy Percy and staying active in the Maine outdoors.