MEXICO – A check on Facebook by Sgt. Roy Hodsdon and the observant action of a store manager led to the capture of two men who are accused of stealing more than $1,700 in items from several businesses in Mexico, Rumford and Farmington.

Mexico Chief James Theriault said the saga began Feb. 24 when Puiia’s Hardware owner reported that two men had taken a Rotozip power tool off a shelf, valued at more than $100, and headed out the door.

Hodsdon wrote up the report. Then, on Thursday as he was parked in front of Labonville, the store manager told him that two men came into her store and while one kept the clerk busy, the other walked around the store. She doesn’t believe anything was taken then, but she recorded the license plate number of the red pickup and gave it to Hodson. A check showed an arrest warrant was out for Joseph Atwood, 29, of Livermore Falls, on other theft charges in Farmington. Hodson then checked on Facebook and got a photo that was identified as one of the two men at Labonville’s by the store manager.

The investigation then moved to Livermore Falls where that town’s sergeant, Joseph Sage, went to Atwood’s house where several stolen items, including an MP3 dock, gloves, power tools, clothing, a DVD player and other items were found. Atwood also identified his partner, Aaron Towle, 28, of Cumberland.

Theriault also interviewed both Atwood and Towle and discovered that many of the stolen items came from Sears, Marden’s, Aubuchon’s and Carlisle’s in Rumford, Advance Auto, Labonville, VIP, Radio Shack, and Puiia’s in Mexico. Many of these items have been recovered.

Sage also recovered some of the items that had been taken from Farmington stores.

The Rotozip wasn’t among the items at first recovered, but was returned by the girlfriend of one of the suspects later, Theriault said.

The two were issued summonses on a charge of felony theft and are scheduled to appear in Rumford District Court on April 14. Theriault said he believes the two will be indicted by the Oxford County grand jury and will likely appear in Paris Superior Court.

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