BELFAST — A teen pushing a life-size model soldier in a shopping cart around downtown at 3 a.m. Friday, Dec. 27, raised some eyebrows, leading to a police investigation of the strange scene.

Belfast Police Chief Mike McFadden said Tuesday that officers who responded to the report of suspicious activity found tracks in the slushy snow that led to the shopping cart, abandoned in the Belfast Co-op parking lot with a six-foot fiberglass and plastic soldier still inside, along with a couple of Christmas wreaths. The officers followed footprints away from the shopping cart and found a 14-year-old boy.

“He claimed to just be out walking around to get some fresh air,” McFadden said. “The officers asked if he’d been pushing anything around. He said, ‘No, I wasn’t pushing a shopping cart.’”

Police then brought the Searsport youth to the police station, woke up his parents and had them come in to pick up their son. The parents seemed nonplussed by their son’s nocturnal activities, McFadden said. Police also located the owners of the pilfered seasonal decorations, including the man who has put the soldier on the front steps of his High Street residence for several years.

“The tin soldier unfortunately was broken into several pieces by the young fellow,” McFadden said. “The owner believes the damage can be repaired with his favorite tool — liquid nails.”

The chief said he discussed the situation with the owners of the stolen goods, and they all believe that the best course of action ultimately would be to get the teen to work with Restorative Justice of the Midcoast. That group would connect him with a community mentor and have him do community service, in addition to other responsibilities.

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