A Gardiner man was convicted Friday in Franklin County Superior Court in a November home invasion that police say ended when a teenage girl alone in the home caught sight of his nephew, who has also been convicted.

James Dingus, 32, pleaded guilty as part of a plea deal in which the charge of burglary was reduced from a class B offense to a class C offense. A misdemeanor charge against Dingus for a door damaged during the Chesterville break-in was also dropped.

He was sentenced to three years in prison with all but nine months suspended and to have no contact with the victim. His sentence is expected to start July 31.

Dingus and his nephew, Stephen Dingus, were arrested in November shortly after a burglary was reported on Vienna Road by a teenage resident of the home.

The girl reported to police that she was in her bedroom when she heard the door forced open and saw a man in the house.

The man fled after spotting her and he was later identified by the girl as the younger Dingus in a photo lineup, according to court documents. She also told police there was another person in the car.

The Chesterville animal control officer also heard about the break-in on a police scanner, according to court documents, and followed a car matching the broadcast discription of the suspect’s vehicle long enough to get the license plate number. He that reported the car was traveling toward Winthrop.

Detective Ken Charles of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department got a court order for James Dingus’ cellphone information and found that his cellphone activity lined up with the location of the burglary and with the direction the suspects were seen traveling.

Stephen Dingus previously pleaded guilty to the burglary and was sentenced May 30 to four and a half years in prison.


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