AUGUSTA (AP) – A former legislator from Pittston has posted a reward for the contents of a home office safe in which he stored cash and valuables worth at least $200,000.

Two young men are accused of stealing the safe while owner William Guerrette Jr. was on an out-of-state vacation and his 18-year-old son hosted a Nov. 17 party that included underage drinking.

The safe contained more than $30,000 in cash and rare coins and historic bank notes valued at between $175,000 and $200,000, its owner said.

Guerrette told police that he found the open and empty safe at the Augusta apartment of Daniel Fortune, 20, a former star athlete at Gardiner Area High School who was a friend of Guerrette’s son, Ryan. Fortune and a second suspect, William Page Jr. of Manchester, were being held in lieu of bail in the Kennebec County Jail.

The valuables stored in the safe included bills printed by banks in Maine in the early 1800s and federal currency printed up to 1920, Guerrette said. He said he had 10 “one-of-a-kind” items in the collection, along with half-cent and two-cent coins and two collectors’ books full of Morgan silver dollars.

Sheriff Randall Liberty said very little of the money has been recovered and investigators found that much of it was used to buy crack cocaine.

“This is another example of drug users stealing from others to feed their illegal drug use,” Liberty said.

Guerrette has put up a $5,000 dollar reward for information leading to the recovery of his property.



Information from: Kennebec Journal, http://www.kjonline.com/

AP-ES-12-23-07 1521EST


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