Police said this SUV was stolen Friday morning in Carrabassett Valley by three teens in a work release program who crashed Friday morning in South Portland after a police chase. 

CARRABASSETT VALLEY — Authorities said three teenage inmates on an overnight work release program at Stratton Brook Hut were taken into custody after they stole an SUV on Friday morning and crashed it in South Portland after a police chase.

The three were identified as Jonathan Vasselian, 18, of Sumner, Christopher Harmon, 18, of Sanford, and Jesse James Ramsdell, 19, of Acton. All were wearing seat belts and none was hurt, officials said.

The three inmates are from Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland. Harmon was serving time for burglary; Vasselian for gross sexual assault; and Ramsdell for assault, Carrabassett Valley Police Chief Mark Lopez said.

Carrabassett Valley police were notified around 7 a.m. that the three prisoners walked away from the Stratton Brook Hut, Lopez, said. The three were last seen at about daybreak, he said.

The hut is at the top of the Oak Knoll Trail and part of the Maine Huts and Trails system with views of the Bigelow Range, Sugarloaf and beyond. 

While officers checked the trail head, a camp resident reported his 2005 Nissan SUV was taken from his driveway, Lopez said.

Police spotted it on the turnpike in Falmouth at midmorning, according to Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland. Troopers attempted to stop the vehicle after it went through the Maine Mall exit and it began to take off. The SUV overturned after it rolled up on a snowbank, McCausland said.

The three teens were taken into custody. Ramsdell was the driver, McCausland said.

All three were charged with unauthorized use of property and were taken to the Cumberland County Jail in Portland. Additional charges from Carrabassett Valley police are likely, McCausland said.

“In addition to the stolen SUV, cash, wine and other items were taken from the Stratton Brook Hut,” McCausland said.

Chief Lopez said Maine Huts and Trails personnel called to report over $900 in cash, a tablet computer, two bottles of wine, an ax and box cutter were taken from the hut.

Lopez said local police were unaware of the Long Creek work release program or that prisoners were brought to the area.

Christopher Richard HarmonJesse James RamsdellJonathan Stephen Vasselian

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