ROCKLAND — A 38-year-old Thomaston man will likely remain in jail after he made his initial court appearance Friday on 115 counts related to a three-year burglary spree across the midcoast.

Superior Court Justice Bruce Mallonee agreed with the request of the district attorney’s office to set bail for Joshua L. Vandine at $50,000 cash.

Vandine has been held in lieu of $25,000 cash bail since March 19 on a charge of receiving stolen property – a gun stolen in November 2016.

The hearing in Knox County Superior Court was his initial appearance on 115 counts – 40 burglaries, 44 thefts, 38 criminal mischief counts, and multiple counts of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. Most of the break-ins were at storage units, but one occurred at a residence.

Assistant District Attorney Christopher Fernald sought the $50,000 bail and opposed a request by defense attorney David Sinclair of Bath that Vandine be allowed to be transferred from the jail to a facility that could treat his substance abuse problem. The prosecutor voiced concern that Vandine could simply walk away from the treatment center because of the seriousness of the charges he is facing.

Fernald also pointed out Vandine’s lengthy criminal history dating back to 1997, which includes numerous burglaries and thefts and possession of firearms by a felon, as well as an assault on an officer. The prosecutor also pointed out that Vandine has four previous failures to appear in court for hearings, with the latest being in 2017 in Rockland.


The restitution in the case could reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, Fernald said. The suspect is also facing charges in other counties, the assistant district attorney said.

Sinclair argued that since Vandine has been at the Knox County Jail he has completed a substance abuse treatment program and that an in-patient treatment placement is needed.

The next scheduled court hearing for Vandine is Feb. 28, but Mallonee said he was willing to hear a bail request earlier if issues of security could be addressed as well as a specific diagnosis that Vandine has.

The new charges stem from an investigation that began 13 months ago from a complaint of a tent being sent up in Warren without the permission of the landowner.

An affidavit filed in court in March by Maine State Police Sgt. Patrick Hood detailed the evidence collected by law enforcement that led to the March 2018 arrest.

On Dec. 17, 2017, Hood was notified by Maine State Game Warden Mark Merrifield that a convicted felon might be in possession of a gun. A landowner off Highland Road had complained of a tent’s being set up on his property without his permission. The game warden checked on the complaint and found ammunition and a summons to an individual who had a felony record.


Hood and Merrifield went to interview the man and eventually he admitted he had a gun and said he had bought it from an individual. In further interviews, the man admitted that he had given police false information about who had provided him the gun and said he had received it from Vandine, according to the affidavit.

The gun had been stolen from a home in Newcastle Oct. 25, 2016.

Police began checking on Vandine and on the vehicles that he owned to see if they matched surveillance photographs from break-ins at storage units.

In one break-in at a Woolwich storage unit, about $100,000 in antiques had been stolen, according to the affidavit. A surveillance photograph showed a vehicle similar to one Vandine had owned at the time. A surveillance tape from a nearby convenience store also showed the vehicle and a man going into the store. The photograph of the male looked like Vandine’s photo on his Facebook page, according to the police report.

Police looked into other break-ins and focused on a May 29, 2017, burglary at a coin shop on West Street in Rockport above Kelsey’s Appliance & Sleep Center.

Five days earlier, a man fitting Vandine’s description had been in the coin shop, and afterward, about $1,000 in coins was missing. Items stolen in the May 29 burglary were ones the man had been looking at, according to the affidavit.

Police found that Vandine had given some rare coins the previous summer to the man he had sold the stolen gun to, according to the affidavit.

That led police to get the arrest warrant from the court.

Troopers seized enough items from Vandine’s home on Main Street in Thomaston, his vehicle and his own storage locker to load up two U-Haul trucks. The items included chainsaws, tools, hunting and fishing equipment, coins, antiques, toys and clothing, according to the Maine Department of Public Safety.

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