NORWAY — A bullet was shot through the back wall of VIP Discount Auto Center on Main Street on Dec. 1, according to Col. John MacDonald of the Maine Warden's Service.
According to MacDonald, MWS and Norway Police suspect a couple of hunters were hunting behind VIP at 85 Main St. when the bullet pierced the building at around 1 p.m.
"It went through the back of the building through a wooden portion of the structure and entered one oil (container) ... inside the store," MacDonald said.
Norway Police officer Ron Cole confirmed the bullet pierced a one-gallon jug of motor oil, which leaked onto the floor, and hit another one-gallon jug of oil but did not penetrate it.
According to the police report, both jugs had fallen onto the floor and a bullet was recovered from inside one of them.
On Monday, MacDonald said there were no suspects in the incident. Without suspects, he said, the Warden Service is unsure of the hunters' level of intent.
"But fortunately," he said, "no one was injured."
"We do believe there were people hunting out back, but we weren't able to make contact with those hunters," MacDonald said. According to the police report, just after the incident, the hunters were spotted in the area of the power lines behind the building.
"They left the area before we could encounter them," MacDonald said.
MacDonald said the 50-caliber slug discovered by wardens came from a muzzleloader firearm, typically used by hunters two weeks following regular firearm hunting season, which ended the day after Thanksgiving.
According to MacDonald, muzzleloader season ended Dec. 8, "but this (incident) was the first (of December) so there was still one week left at that point."
MacDonald said the Warden Service is still investigating the distance the hunters were from the building and what they were aiming at.
Now that the hunting season is over, MacDonald said, the chances of determining a suspect is "pretty slim," especially since those hunters won't be frequenting that portion of woods for a while, or possibly ever again.
"We just don't know for sure," he said.
MacDonald said cases like these don't happen often, but warns that hunting accidents in general are not uncommon.
Norway Police Chief Rob Federico is concerned though, saying that there could have been far graver consequences.
"The bullet could have hit a child — it came through at a child's height."