WATERVILLE — A police dog tracked a 47-year-old man accused of assault to his hiding place beneath a vehicle, leading to his arrest Friday evening.

Billy Joe Bragg, 47, of Brook Street, was charged with domestic violence assault against a woman who had a protective order against him, according to Sgt. Lincoln Ryder of the Waterville Police Department.

Bragg has been convicted of assault several times in the past. Statewide, statistics show domestic violence assault is one of the only crimes on the rise in Maine.

Police responded to a call at about 9 p.m. that said Bragg had assaulted the woman at her Crawford Street residence. He was supposed to have no contact with the woman because of the protective order, .

Ryder said that when police got there, Bragg had already left the scene on foot, so police used a canine tracking dog from the Kennebec Sheriff’s office to pick up his trail.

After about 15 minutes, Bragg was found hiding under a vehicle on Drummond Avenue, Ryder said.

Ryder said Bragg did not resist arrest, and the woman did not require hospitalization.

Because Bragg has been convicted of domestic assault in the past, the current charge is a class C crime, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine under Maine law.

In addition, Bragg has been charged with violation of a protective order and a probation hold. He was also wanted under a warrant.

Bragg is currently being held without bail and is scheduled for a July 9 arraignment in Augusta Superior Court.

Bragg has faced several assault charges and convictions in the area over the past 11 years.

In 2002, he was convicted of two charges of assault in Waterville District Court, where he was sentenced to 364 days in jail.

In 2006, he was sentenced to 10 days in jail by the Augusta District Court for an assault that took place in China.

In 2011, Bragg was indicted in Kennebec County Superior Court on charges of domestic violence assault and aggravated assault. An indictment is not a determination of guilt, but an indication that sufficient evidence is present to proceed with formal charges and a trial in superior court.

He has also been convicted of a variety of lesser crimes, including operating under the influence, burglary, theft and criminal mischief.

Domestic violence is one of the only crimes that appear to be on the rise in Maine, according to statistics released Wednesday by the Maine Department of Public Safety, which showed 5,593 reported in the state in 2012, compared with 5,353 reported in 2011.

Public Safety Commissioner John Morris said he hoped the increase, which repeated a similar increase between 2010 and 2011, was because more victims were reporting the crime instead of it happening more frequently.

Morris advised that victims call the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence at 866-834-HELP, or the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault at 800-871-7741, or to visit those organizations’ websites to access helpful resources.

Matt Hongoltz-Hetling — 861-9287
[email protected]

 

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