LEWISTON — It was a “man bun” that helped police identify a Florida man who police said stole a woman’s credit card and car keys and at least one car in October.
Anthony Waack, 29, of West Palm Beach, Florida, appeared in 8th District Court on Monday on six related felonies; a judge set his bail at $25,000 cash.
Waack was charged with theft by unauthorized taking, unauthorized use of property and four counts of receiving stolen property, all Class C felonies, each punishable by up to five years in prison. He also was charged with failure to stop for an officer, a misdemeanor.
Police wrote in an affidavit that Waack was identified as a man sporting a “man bun” in surveillance video at Food City Grocery in Lisbon on Oct. 17. That’s when he reportedly entered the employee break room at the back of the store midafternoon. He was described of medium build, short stature and wearing a black or dark colored sweatshirt. His “brown hair pulled back into a ‘man bun.'” He appeared to be holding an item on a lanyard.
The man in the video was inside the break room for “just over a minute” before exiting the store, according to police.
A worker at the store had reported less than an hour later that her cellphone, debit card and car keys were missing from a purse that had been in the same break room.
Police tracked the movements of the woman’s cellphone using its GPS. A self photo that had been recorded on the phone and stored in the woman’s cloud account showed a man of similar description to the man in the store video and he was sporting a “man bun.”
Three days after the woman reported her purse items stolen, police got a call of a possible sighting of the suspect at a Lisbon fast food restaurant in a gray Ford sedan. Police responded and spotted the suspect with “the long hair fashioned in the “man bun” style climbing into the car, Detective Richard St. Amant wrote in his affidavit.
The officer made eye contact with the suspect and ordered him to stop, but the suspect put the car into reverse and backed up before speeding out the parking lot.
Police pursued the car, but lost contact, St. Amant wrote.
A different officer picked up the car on Route 196 traveling at “an extremely high rate of speed” in the wrong lane “with no apparent regard for the safety of the other vehicle traffic.” The driver failed to yield to the siren and lights of the officer’s cruiser. That officer lost sight of the suspect and gave up the chase.
Later that night, police said a resident at an apartment complex in Lisbon called police to report her 2002 Dodge minivan had been stolen from her parking space. Other residents of the complex reported items stolen from their vehicles. One-third of a mile away, police found the Ford sedan the suspect had driven earlier in the day, abandoned on a tote road. The sedan had been reported stolen earlier that day from Palmyra, St. Amant wrote. In the car were a laptop, a prescription medication, a debit card, a camera and cellphone.
The car was processed for DNA and fingerprints. The fingerprints would later come back as a match to Waack.
Two days later, law enforcement officers began to string together a series of stolen vehicles, including one from Vermont (whose license plates had been switched) that led to Palmyra, where the Ford sedan had been parked before it was stolen. Police later traced the laptop found in the car to a burglary in West Gardiner, the camera from a vehicle in Livermore Falls. The debit card had been stolen from a vehicle parked outside a motel in Newport.
Images of the suspect, including his apparent selfie were sent to the Maine Information Analysis Center for identification using its facial recognition software system. The suspect was identified as Waack.
He had been recently released from custody in Vermont less than a week earlier after a conviction for operating a vehicle without owner consent. Police said Waack had an active warrant from Massachusetts for a 2017 charge of larceny from a motor vehicle.
Waack’s criminal history is extensive, dating back to 2008 in several states with convictions on similar charges, St. Amant wrote.
Judge Leanne Sutton ordered Waack’s bail conditions to include no burglary tools and undergo random searches. His next court appearance was scheduled for February.
Waack didn’t enter pleas because felony charges must be brought by grand jury.
His head appeared to have been shaved.
Anthony Waack, center, in 8th District Court in Lewiston on Monday on charges related to a stolen vehicle and other items. At left is lawyer Jason Ranger and, at right, Assistant District Attorney Nathan Walsh. (Christopher Williams/Sun Journal)
Anthony Waack (Submitted photo)