Tools valued between $10,000 and $15,000 were stolen overnight from contractors building U.S. Army veteran and quadruple amputee Travis Mills’ new state-of-the-art home in Manchester Wednesday, police said.
Capt. Dennis Picard of the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office said the theft from the job site on Pond Road is under investigation after being reported early Thursday morning. He said authorities don’t have much information on the theft and are still gathering leads.
The home is being paid for by two foundations on behalf of Mills, 27, a retired Army staff sergeant and one of only five quadruple amputees from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. He was wounded by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan in 2012.
Mills said Friday he was angry about the theft and hopes the thieves are caught quickly.
“I’m going to make sure I’m at the arraignment so they can see who they stole from,” he said.
Greg O’Halloran, a Benton contractor in charge of the job, said only three hours of work time was lost on the home because the sheriff’s office recovered tools, including a generator and saws from an Augusta pawn shop. Also, Hammond Lumber Company donated other tools necessary to continue work, including nail guns, O’Halloran said.
“It could have been worse, that’s for sure,” he said.
The Gary Sinise Foundation and the Stephen Siller Tunnel To Towers Foundation, which jointly own the 20.7 acres of land the under-construction home sits on, are building the house there for Mills, his wife, Kelsey, and their young daughter.
Mills is a Michigan native who lives in Texas, but hopes he, his daughter and wife, a Gardiner Area High School graduate, can move into the Maine house as early as June.
He has been touring the nation giving motivational speeches and promoting a new documentary on his recovery while raising money for an eponymous foundation and a new veterans camp in Belgrade. Mills is also one of a handful of injured servicemen to get specially designed smart homes, paid for by the foundations and tailored to individual veterans’ specific needs.
The Gary Sinise Foundation, founded by the “Forrest Gump” and “Apollo 13” actor, says the homes usually cost around $500,000 to build and usually feature retractable cooktops, cabinets and shelving, automated lighting, tablet computer-controlled heating, air conditioning and window treatments, elevators, roll-in bathrooms, an intercom system and automated doors.
The sheriff’s office is investigating, and asks that those with information about the theft call Deputy Aaron Moody at 626-0154.