AUGUSTA — One of two all-terrain vehicles that broke through the ice and sank last week in the Kennebec River had been reported stolen, and the operator now faces a felony charge.
The vehicle identification number of the ATV driven by Raymond E. Cray, 22, of Gardiner, was listed as stolen on the National Crime Information Center, according to a court affidavit by game warden Troy Thibodeau.
Cray was one of three men who ended up in frigid water when the ATVs sank late at night Feb. 14 in Gardiner.
Cray and his passenger — Mike Elliot, originally from New Hampshire, who initially gave a false name to police after being rescued and treated at a local hospital for hypothermia — were able to get to shore on their own.
A third man, Brett Ellis, 24, also of Gardiner, was riding a separate ATV and had to be pulled from the water by Gardiner fire and rescue personnel and law enforcement officers.
Cray initially was charged with operating an unregistered ATV and operating to endanger.
Thibodeau said he photographed the red 2002 Honda 450 four-by-four ATV and checked the vehicle number after it was removed from the river Feb. 15. He learned on Monday that it had been reported stolen and tried to question Cray, who refused to cooperate and was arrested, according to the affidavit.
Thibodeau said he still was investigating the incident. He confirmed that both ATVs were recovered Feb. 15 and that the ATV driven by Ellis did not appear on a list of stolen vehicles.
On Wednesday, Cray appeared before a judge in Kennebec County Superior Court on a felony charge of receiving stolen property.
Assistant District Attorney James Mitchell Jr. said the ATV was worth more than $1,000 and was stolen from a man in Lincoln County.
Justice Nancy Mills told Cray she did not expect him to enter a plea on the felony charge and set his next court hearing for April 24.
She approved an agreement by Mitchell and Carol Webb, a defense attorney, to set bail at $500 with the condition that Cray have no contact with the man listed as the owner of the ATV.
Cray also had neglected to pay $585 in court fines. He told Mills he was on unemployment but expected to find a job when he got out of jail. She ordered him to pay $25 a month, beginning April 1.
Betty Adams — 621-5631