VASSALBORO — A man accused of burglarizing a woman’s house as she hid in a closet Friday was arrested after sheriff’s deputies and their dog found him hiding, submerged, in a bog.

It’s not the first time that William Joseph McLain Jr., 31, of Fairfield, has been said to have escaped authorities, and he told police he broke into the home to fuel “a $500-a-week heroin habit,” said Chief Deputy Ryan Reardon of the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office.

“I’ve been arresting this kid since he was 16,” Reardon said.

McLain was arrested and charged with burglary and refusing to submit to arrest at the end of a chase that came after he initially escaped a Riverside Drive home past a Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office deputy, according to a report filed by Sgt. Mike Pion.

At 12:19 p.m., the sheriff’s office received a report of a burglary in progress, on Riverside Drive. The homeowner, a woman, said a man broke into her house and was rummaging through her belongings. She hid in a closet to make the 911 call, Pion wrote.

Cpl. G.J. Neagle, the dog and sheriff’s Deputy Galen Estes arrived at the home shortly after the call and saw the man leave the house, only to re-enter after he saw Neagle and his German shepherd, Draco, outside, according to Pion.

The report says the homeowner screamed over the phone to a dispatcher, reporting that the man had seen her.

After that, Pion wrote that the man tried to flee the home again, coming into contact with Estes, who was in uniform, at the front door. The report says Estes ordered him to the ground, but he refused and got away.

Neagle and Draco tracked the man to the bog, where Pion said McLain, was arrested with no incident. Later, the homeowner identified McLain out of a lineup, Pion wrote.

His report said McLain, who was on probation and had warrants out for his arrest, was taken to jail and held on $15,000 cash bail.

McLain has eluded authorities before — most notably telling his attorney at an April 2010 court appearance in Augusta that he was going outside for a cigarette, but not returning to the courtroom. A warrant was issued for his arrest and his lawyer apologized to the judge.

In July 2011, he got nine months in jail after pleading guilty to forgery and other charges after an incident earlier that month where he impersonated a soon-to-be-released inmate while in the Kennebec County jail.

Before his plan was foiled, police said McLain had changed into the other man’s clothes and signed the other man’s name in a jail release book.

At the time of sentencing, McLain’s lawyer said McLain was hoping to get into an addiction recovery program in jail.

Reardon said McLain’s plight “illustrates the opiate problem in central Maine.”

“His story is not unlike dozens of people in this area,” Reardon said. “This is a never-ending story and a never-ending song in central Maine.”

Michael Shepherd — 621-5632
[email protected]

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