JAY – The search was on Friday night for a felony suspect who police say fled into the woods following a traffic stop on Route 133.
Several agencies, including Maine State Police and U.S. Border Patrol, were searching for 29-year-old Michael Gatcomb, who is wanted on several charges and is considered possibly armed and dangerous.
Gatcomb, who has a long criminal history in the area, is wanted in Franklin County on charges of domestic assault and violating conditions of release. He is also wanted on charges in Kennebec County.
At about 3 p.m. Friday, investigators said, Wilton police Sgt. Chad Abbott spotted Gatcomb riding in the passenger seat of a pickup truck traveling along Route 133. With the help of Jay police Sgt. Troy Young, Abbott stopped the truck near Beans Corner, police said.
As soon as the truck was stopped, police said Gatcomb jumped out, ran across a field and disappeared into the woods.
Jay police Chief Larry White Sr. and Detective Richard Caton responded to the scene, along with deputies from the Franklin County Sheriff's Department, officers from Wilton and Farmington police departments, Maine State Police and U.S. Border Patrol.
Police searched with tracking dogs, but by nightfall, Gatcomb had not been taken into custody. He was twice spotted, police said, but he ran back into the woods each time and escaped capture.
In addition to charges in Franklin County, Gatcomb is also wanted in Kennebec County on charges of failure to stop for police, criminal speed and violating conditions of release.
Gatcomb had been free on bail stemming from a felony theft charge. Those charges stem from an incident in January when he was accused of stealing items from Hannaford supermarket in Jay and bringing the items back to the store for a refund.
Police said the incidents were captured by a store security camera.
Police said on Jan. 10, Gatcomb went to Hannaford with a female accomplice just before 11 a.m. He went to the health and beauty aisle and took two small boxes off a shelf and placed them under his coat, investigators said. A few minutes later, the female accomplice came into the store and took the items to the service desk and received a refund of $28.33 for them.
Later in the day, Gatcomb was seen re-entering the store. He went to the health and beauty aisle and took some ladies' moisturizers and went up to the service counter and asked for a refund and received $53.53 on a gift card, according to police.
Gatcomb was arrested but posted $400 cash bail the same day. He was scheduled to appear on March 22 in Franklin County Superior Court on Farmington.
Gatcomb has prior convictions for theft, assault, burglary, tampering with a witness and violation condition of release, according to court documents.
Anyone with information regarding Michael Gatcomb's whereabouts is asked to contact the Jay Police Department at 897-6766.