SKOWHEGAN — A man once described by a district attorney as “creepy” for twice breaking into homes and standing over women he thought were sleeping was arrested Wednesday in Skowhegan for allegedly doing the same thing.
Douglas A. DeWalt, 46, of Skowhegan, was charged with aggravated criminal trespass for allegedly entering a woman’s home near Jewett and Chandler streets through an unlocked door about 3:20 a.m. and standing over her bed, Police Chief Ted Blais said Thursday. DeWalt, who made his initial court appearance on the charge Wednesday, had only been out of prison five months for convictions on identical charges.
But this time, Blais said, the woman chased the intruder while dialing 911. Two police officers were nearby and arrested him.
“She realizes someone is in the house and she sees his silhouette trying to get away so she chases after him — she went after him,” Blais said. “She was not going to be a victim — she was going to fight and I recommend that. … She had a very strong positive attitude.”
The police affidavit filed in court Wednesday by Sgt. Joel Cummings states that DeWalt had a knife with him and turned it over to police when he was arrested.
Blais said the 48-year-old woman was a awakened by a creak of the door in the darkness of her home early Wednesday morning. She had left the doors unlocked that night, he said.
The woman reported to dispatchers that the intruder fell into a puddle making his escape. Cummings and Officer Billie Martin were in the area within a minute of the 911 call, Blais said.
Martin went to the house while Cummings positioned his cruiser with the lights off at the corner of a nearby street a block away. DeWalt walked and half-ran right to Cummings, according to the affidavit. DeWalt was wet and muddy and smelled heavily of cologne, as the victim told dispatchers the intruder had smelled.
Police also called in a tracking dog from the sheriff’s department to follow the scent from the victim’s home to where Cummings had detained DeWalt to further confirm they had the correct suspect, Blais said.
DeWalt was sentenced to five years in the state prison for burglaries in February 2010, one of which involved him standing over the bed of a woman in Skowhegan whom he thought was asleep. DeWalt had been out of prison only a short time in 2009 for previous burglary convictions, one involving him entering a home in Winslow in 2005 and fondling the leg of a sleeping woman.
“He went into this house in Winslow in a very similar manner to what happened in Skowhegan,” then-District Attorney Evert Fowle said in 2010. “He rubbed her foot, and she screamed for her parents. Then he casually walked out of her room by the time her parents arrived.”
DeWalt was convicted of that burglary and received a four-year concurrent sentence to burglary charges against him in Knox County in January 2007. He was on probation when the Skowhegan charges were brought in 2009.
“In the first burglary, he broke into an older person’s house and she pretended to be asleep. He must not have realized that she had woken up,” Fowle said at the time. “She called police on her cellphone. It was traumatic for her. The burglary was creepy. He’s the type of person we want to put out of commission for as long as we can.”
Blais said his records indicate that DeWalt had served his time in prison and is not on probation. Scott Fish, director of special projects at the Maine Department of Corrections, said DeWalt was released from prison Nov. 8.
Blais said Wednesday’s intrusion appeared to have been a random act against a woman the intruder did not know. DeWalt lives just a few blocks away on Dawes Street. He did not touch the woman, Blais said.
DeWalt was being held at the Somerset County Jail on $5,000 cash bond or $50,000 worth of property. The charge against DeWalt is a Class C felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.
He has a conference date in court May 21. A trial date has been set for Aug. 4.
Blais said the newest charge against DeWalt shows a pattern of behavior that is disturbing, and said it highlights of the importance of homeowners locking their doors at night.
“This is extremely scary — this could be your wife, your daughter, it could be anybody,” Blais said. “You want to feel safe in your home; you want to feel safe while you’re sleeping and to violate that is just very creepy.”