NEW GLOUCESTER — An Auburn man employed by a local oil supplier was arrested Friday after entering a New Gloucester home through a window, exiting the front door and telling the homeowner, who watched from outside, that he was checking for a gas leak.
The homeowner was skeptical of the story, especially since the man was driving a service van from Webber Energy and she is not one of the company's customers.
Christopher Welch, 31, of Auburn, was arrested and charged with burglary shortly after the woman called authorities following her encounter with Welch.
Lt. Walter F. Grzyb of the Maine State Police reported Saturday that Welch was stopped by troopers on Danville Corner Road in Auburn shortly after the 2:20 p.m. complaint. He was driving a Webber Energy service van.
Authorities learned through their investigation that Welch broke into the home in search of prescription medications. Welch is an employee of Webber Energy in Auburn, but neither his crime or the New Gloucester residence have any association with the company. There is also no known connection between the homeowner and Welch.
Grzyb reported that the woman arrived home just in time to watch Welch crawling in through a window of her North Pownal Road home and noticed the Webber Energy service van parked in her driveway.
As she approached the house, Welch emerged from the front door and told the woman he was checking for a gas leak when she questioned him about why he was in her home.
According to Grzyb, Welch left in the service van, but the woman was skeptical of his story and called the Maine State Police. Authorities arrived on scene and began searching for the service van, which was tracked down by Trooper Jodell Wilkinson with the help of an observant friend of the homeowner.
Welch was taken to the Cumberland County Jail in Portland and released later Friday on $500 bail. The Webber Energy service van was seized and will be searched to determine if it contains any further evidence of this or other crimes.