PARIS – A 30-year-old Rumford man pleaded guilty Monday to reduced theft charges for collecting insurance money on his destroyed pickup truck.

Henry Ross Jr., of 479 Virgin St., pleaded guilty in Oxford County Superior Court to an amended charge of Class C theft by deception. With the plea, charges of Class A arson and Class B theft for which Ross was indicted in February were dismissed.

Justice Roland Cole sentenced Ross to serve nine months of a four-year prison sentence, as well as two years of probation.

Assistant District Attorney Joe O’Connor said Ross reported his 1997 Chevrolet pickup stolen on March 31, 2007. O’Connor said a person out four-wheeling in Greenwood later reported seeing someone walking away from the burning truck in the woods.

O’Connor said Ross and 46-year-old Edward Vidito, also of Virgin Street, were implicated in the truck fire during an investigation by the Maine Fire Marshal’s Office into the destruction of several buildings in the Virginia section of Rumford in July 2007.

O’Connor said Vidito claimed he had burned the truck at Ross’ behest so Ross could collect the insurance money. Vidito was sentenced by Cole earlier this month to serve six months in jail after pleading guilty to aggravated criminal mischief.

Cole also ordered that Ross pay up to $10,334 to Progressive Insurance Co. O’Connor said that amount was paid to Ross after the fire, but that he was recently informed that Ross may have received less. Cole said Ross will pay $400 a month or less, as necessary, to complete restitution by the end of his probation.

Ross will begin serving his sentence Oct. 15.


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