SKOWHEGAN — A man sentenced to three years in prison Wednesday for burglaries and theft last year had taunted one of his victims in a note in which he said he was a ‘Black Ninja’ who couldn’t be caught.

Jonathan M. Strickland, 25, of Skowhegan, was convicted on two counts of burglary, two counts of theft — both class C felonies — and his probation was revoked.

Strickland was sentenced to 36 months in prison for the probation revocation and 32 months for the burglaries and thefts, all to run at the same time, Skowhegan Police Chief Ted Blais said Thursday.

Police investigating a burglary at the Pak Lee Chinese Restaurant on Madison Avenue Oct. 16 examined a video that showed the burglar “wearing a distinctive mask” entering the building, Blais said. The mask was made from black fabric with eye slits — Ninja style — he said.

The burglar stole money from the cash register and liquor bottles, he said.

The same day, Skowhegan police responded to another burglary and theft of cash at the nearby Skowhegan State Fairgrounds office, where a note was found saying, “You can’t keep out the Black Ninja,” according to Blais.


“We think he made up the name on his own, at least he never told anybody why he called himself that,” Blais said.

Blais said people in Skowhegan told detectives that Strickland had been calling himself the Black Ninja and had been bragging about committing other burglaries in the area.

Police carried out a search warrant Oct. 23 at Strickland’s apartment and found a Ninja-style mask like the one worn in the Pak Lee burglary along with liquor bottles with the same brand and stickers stolen from the restaurant, Blais said.

The Maine Department of Corrections Division of Adult Community Corrections assisted in the execution of the search warrant, Blais said. Strickland was arrested at that time for a revocation of his probation and had been in jail since his arrest. Strickland was due to be released from probation just weeks before his arrest.

Police found that Joseph Kireburns, 23, of Skowhegan, had also been involved in the Fairgrounds burglary, acting as Strickland’s lookout. Kireburns pleaded guilty to burglary and theft and was sentenced to three years in prison with all but 60 days suspended and two years of probation.

“We must give credit to the public for giving us information,” Blais said.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter: @Doug_Harlow

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