Stolen gun leads to foot chase through woods

AUBURN — Police converged on Walmart on Wednesday afternoon after a man reportedly walked out of the store with a stolen gun.

Officers got their suspects and perhaps a few deer ticks in the process.

The weapon was an Airsoft pistol, police said, taken by a suspect last seen headed toward the back of the store at about 5:15 p.m.

Several officers searched the area behind Walmart and neighboring stores but there was no sign of the suspect.

Witnesses reported seeing the man run into the woods in the area between Walmart and BJ's Wholesale Club. Police soon followed, entering the heavily wooded area between Park Avenue and Summer Street.

Auburn police Sgt. Laurie Woodhead said the officers soon came upon some of the store packaging that had contained the gun. That led them to an area where they found Nick Tatu, 27, still in possession of the Airsoft pistol.

Auburn police Officer Justin Richardson caught up with Tatu and arrested him, police said, but the suspect didn't go willingly.

Tatu was taken out of the woods and charged with theft, criminal threatening, criminal trespass, refusing to submit to arrest and violating conditions of release stemming from an earlier arrest. He remained at the Androscoggin County Jail later Wednesday.

According to Woodhead, the officers who chased the suspect had to go back to the station for a tick check following the arrest. No one was complaining much, though — the call came in at about 5:15 p.m. and the suspect was in custody less than half an hour later.

"The officers did an outstanding job," Woodhead said.

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Steve  Dosh's picture

Stolen gun leads to foot chase through woods

Mainers, 13.04.25 13:30 hst ?
. .Hmmm , Who's gun was it ?
/s Steve

Bob Berry's picture


A firearm is to an airsoft gun like a Humvee is to a bumper car. This should not have even been news. Mr. LaFlamme, did you know that an airsoft gun is a toy?

 's picture

Any type gun that uses CO2

Any type gun that uses CO2 can be dangerous if the person is an idiot and not use precautions with it at close range,let alone a distance. The SunJournal could have had the headline reading"Assault Gun" in it but didn't~which a team of paintball shooters, when they dress up in camo and run through a course shooting each other, make it look like a scene from enemy vs.home.Some guy that feels the need to steal something like this,wasn't doing it for his looks.Many kids,paint the tips of these "toys" to make them look real and at a distance,officers can't tell, let alone yourself,if they are real or fake.!!

Bob Berry's picture

Um, sorry

Notice that only some toy guns have an orange tip now-a-days? You can go to a toy store, and find toy guns that do not have orange tips. Know why? Because you can go into any hardware store and buy orange paint. Our police officers are trained and well advised to judge the suspect before the apparent gun. Orange tips can cause undue hesitation and tragic consequences.

Before you jump, I'm not advocating making our LEO's job harder or less safe.

 's picture

Ever been in the confiscated

Ever been in the confiscated gun room at the PD's? confiscated TOYS..all with their tips painted black to cover the orange tips.Ever been to the Federal Building to play cops & robbers and the choice of shoot or don't shoot? Officers are trained for BOTH.If a suspect come's running at them with a painted toy gun that looks identical to an oozie,a 38 special,a 9 mm,etc,etc... what do you think will happen if ordered to halt and they don't?? that suspect would be shot.The toy companies that make them without something to distinguish them are idiots themselves when a kid gets shot.I am surprised with all the bans going on that those too will be banned..oh yea,thats Conneticut..LOL!

Scott French's picture

Yes he is an idiot

I would agree this guy is an idiot. The point still remains that an airsoft is not a firearm and the headline was misleading.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

Trust me it's a weapon..........

I had a friend who had an air pistol, He would brag about how real it looked, and it did look real. He also stated how safe it was, after all it's only a toy. This was his mentality. He was wrong. About three weeks or so after his purchasing the gun, he decided to shoot and scare the neighbors dog. The dog was in it's own yard minding it's own business, when out of nowhere, bang, the dog starts whelping. This idiot was to close, the CO2 force of the pellet penetrated the dogs chest area. The good part is this guy was soon apprehended, and forced to pay for ALL medical needs of that dog. The bad part is, this guy is still out there, and who knows who or what will be the subject of his next prank. Fortunately, the last I heard he's living down in Quincey MA...............

Bob Berry's picture

Still apples and oranges.

There are CO2 powered guns (and for the sake of this argument, 'guns' meaning a devise with a barrel capable of propelling a projectile) that are capable of killing medium sized game. And there are Airsoft guns, capable of killing small frogs... maybe. The man you discuss sounds like an idiot. Good call. But I will not "Trust [you] it's a weapon".

The fork on my lunch plate, now, that's a weapon. Airsoft gun? No. Unless the perp used it to club someone on the head.

Andrew Jones's picture

Walmart's selection of BB

Walmart's selection of BB guns are cheap pieces of crap. He probably decided to steal one of them when he realized he couldn't break into the locked long gun carousels.

Scott French's picture

Typical Sun Journal Sensationalism

This was the theft of a toy but the headline of this article would lead you to believe it was much more serious. If the idiot had stolen an action figure would the headline have read "Kidnapping leads to foot chase through woods"?


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