AUGUSTA — Three jail inmates out on work details broke into the Kennebec County Courthouse one weekend last summer, stealing snacks and other items and breaking a surveillance camera, District Attorney Maeghan Maloney told a judge on Wednesday at a hearing for one of them.

Two of those inmates, Corey L. Hall, 22, formerly of Winthrop, and Charles L. Lowe, 39, of Augusta, pleaded guilty Wednesday in Kennebec County Superior Court to charges related to those events, a number of which were caught on the camera.

A third suspect, Reta A. Patterson, 44, of Mount Vernon, is set for a bench trial on theft and criminal mischief charges Dec. 11 in Augusta District Court.

At Wednesday’s hearings, Maloney and Assistant District Attorney Tracy DeVoll said the three had been working as trusties — inmates placed in positions of trust — outside the jail, rigged a courthouse door on a Friday so it appeared to be locked when it was not and broke in several times over the weekend of Aug. 16-17.

Hall pleaded guilty to two counts each of burglary and theft by unauthorized taking or transfer and one of criminal mischief. He was sentenced to 19 months in prison concurrent with a sentence he is already serving for setting fire to a work trailer in Farmingdale on June 24, 2011. He also was ordered to pay toward $912 restitution for the damage to a courthouse window as well as items taken.

DeVoll said the trusties brought some items back with them to the jail.


When Justice Daniel Billings asked Hall about the sentence, Hall said, “To be honest with you, I think it’s fair with what I already have.”

Lowe pleaded guilty to two counts of theft and one of criminal mischief and was sentenced to 21 days in jail concurrent with a nine-month probation revocation on convictions for forgery and theft by deception. He also was ordered to pay restitution.

Maloney told the judge that the sentence allows Lowe to remain in the Criminogenic Addiction Recovery Academy program at the jail and graduate.

“We don’t believe he was the lead player in the break-in,” Maloney said.

She also said two charges of burglary pending against Lowe will be dismissed in exchange for the plea.

“I hope you understand how stupid this was,” Billings told Lowe. Billings also said, “When people do these kinds of things, it causes us to reevaluate putting people in positions of trust.”


In fact, that was the last weekend any jail trusties were allowed to work unsupervised outside the jail, said Chief Deputy Ryan Reardon of the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office, which runs the jail. Trusties earn a day off their sentence for every two days worked. Outside the jail, they do seasonal yard work on jail and courthouse grounds.

Robert Devlin, Kennebec County administrator, said the camera showed the trusties propping the door open late Friday afternoon, so it didn’t latch properly.

“On Saturday they got in through the door, but they must have let it close,” he said. On Sunday they removed screws from a security screen on a window and got in that way.

“We saved the video of Hall crawling in the window and looking at the camera,” Devlin said on Wednesday. “While in the basement, they went to the refrigerator where they found Hot Pockets and coffee. Those were probably the most expensive Hot Pockets they ever had.”

Devlin said the trusties were unable to get into first floor offices because they were locked, but used coins they found to get items from a vending machine.

The only damage they did was to the camera. “Lowe was fixing the screen when he broke the camera,” Devlin said.


Devlin said the maintenance manager, Jim Saucier, spotted the broken camera on Monday, and the investigation began then.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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