Rockport Police nab Belfast man on multiple charges
Rockport — Rockport Police arrested and charged a Belfast man on five counts including unauthorized use of property, operating after suspension, theft by unauthorized taking, violation of conditions of release and possession of a firearm by an unauthorized person on Thursday Nov. 1, said Rockport Police Chief Mark Kelley.
Victor Pendleton, 21, formerly of Augusta, was released from Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset two days prior to his arrest in Rockport, according to Kelley. He was apprehended at the entrance to the Grassy Pond pump out station by Kelley around 9:45 a.m. Kelley said Pendleton was driving a stolen vehicle and carrying a concealed handgun at the time of the arrest.
Authorities were on the hunt for Pendleton Thursday after a Jefferson resident called Lincoln County Sheriff's Office at 9:30 a.m. to report a blue Jeep Cherokee had been stolen, said Kelley. Kelley said it was determined that the stolen vehicle was traveling east on Route 17. Kelley said an unidentified firefighter — who heard the call regarding the stolen Jeep on his radio — observed a vehicle fitting the description and called Knox County Dispatch.
"Everybody was made aware of it," Kelley said, adding that Knox County Sheriffs, Rockport Police and Maine State Police were all on the lookout for the stolen vehicle.
Kelley said he spotted a vehicle that "fit the description" in the entrance to the Grassy Pond pump out station and pulled in at an angle that "would have made it difficult" for the driver to leave if they chose to do so, he said.
Kelley said his vehicle was positioned at an angle about 15 to 20 feet away from the blue Jeep, facing the driver's side where a police camera was able to capture all activity during to the stop. Kelley said he observed Pendleton make an "odd movement" as Kelley exited his vehicle.
"It was just one of those things that didn't sit well," Kelley explained.
He said he then instructed Pendleton to place both hands on the steering wheel of the Jeep. Kelley said Pendleton informed him he was in possession of a gun, concealed on his side underneath his sweatshirt.
Kelley said he handcuffed Pendleton and removed him from the stolen vehicle. He instructed Pendleton to hold onto the roof rack of the vehicle and discovered the firearm in a holster on Pendleton's side. The gun was loaded and had a round in the chamber, Kelley said.
The owner of the stolen vehicle — which had no license plates attached — said there was not a firearm inside the vehicle when it was stolen, Kelley said. Kelley said police believe Pendleton may have stolen the firearm sometime within the two days following his release from jail and police are seeking assistance from the public and neighboring law enforcement agencies in determining if the gun was stolen.
"This type of stuff is fairly uncommon, but it does happen," Kelley said. "We do this daily and we don't always know who we're dealing with. It's this type of stuff that probably makes us seem a little bit stiffer when we approach cars with people we don't know, we always have to use due caution."
Kelley said Pendleton was transported to Knox County Jail following the arrest, where he remained Friday afternoon. Pendleton was expected to appear in court Friday, Nov. 2, according to staff at Knox County Jail.
Courier Publications reporter Jenna Lookner can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org