WATERVILLE — Two boys were charged Monday with theft and arson for allegedly stealing a lawnmower and setting it on fire July 27 off Silver Street.

The boys, ages 13 and 14, were summoned by police Detective Chris Paradis after a 10-day investigation by police and fire officials, as well as officials from the State Fire Marshal’s Office, according to Deputy police Chief Charles Rumsey.

The fire destroyed the lawnmower, and the 14-year-old boy suffered minor burns on his left arm in the incident, Rumsey said.

Fire officials went to 94 Silver St. at 8:49 p.m. July 27 in response to a call about a fire in the woods and found a small fire between Summer and Silver streets, and near homes, fire Lt. Shawn Esler said at the time.

They found a power mower burning and, suspecting arson, called police and state fire officials.

After Paradis arrived, the 14-year-old boy showed up and told officials he was involved in the arson, Esler said. The boy was treated by rescue workers and taken by Delta Ambulance to MaineGeneral Medical Center’s Thayer Campus.

Rumsey said Monday that a juvenile community corrections officer will review the case. The youths could go to court, or a decision could be made to have them go through a rehabilitation process, according to Rumsey.

Theoretically, the maximum punishment is that they be confined to a detention center until they are 18, he said.

The boys gave Paradis no reason for committing the arson, he said, noting that it is a serious crime.

“Obviously, it’s a felony, and it is that because it’s very dangerous — and clearly so, because one of the children was injured during the commission of the crime,” Rumsey said.

He added that the fire posed a risk of large property loss, serious injury or death.

 

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