WATERVILLE — The shirtless man police found squatting early Sunday morning inside Champions Fitness Club acted as if he belonged there. He helped himself to coffee and other drinks, had a pizza delivered, ate half of it and left the box on the front counter, took a towel from a linen closet and was about to take a shower when cruisers pulled up in front of the building.

Eric Davis, 44, told officers he was a security guard for Champions, though he was not. He had also ordered several pizzas that had been sent to police dispatchers.

“He was helping himself to K cups and other drinks and he stole an iPod,” Champions operations manager Renee Raymond said later after viewing surveillance video. “He punched a hole in a ceiling tile and ripped out wires from the speakers. My theory is, he wanted to take a nap and it was too noisy because the music was still on in the men’s locker room.”

Police said they didn’t have an address for Davis, but he previously told them he lives in Augusta.

Waterville Police Chief Joseph Massey called the encounter “kind of bizarre.”

Around 2:30 a.m. Sunday police allege they found Davis inside Champions wearing no shirt, according to Massey. Davis had placed the iPod and other items from Champions inside his backpack, Massey said.

Police later learned that Davis had ordered and paid for a total of seven pizzas from Domino’s, had one delivered to him at Champions at 10:30 p.m. Saturday and asked that four pizzas be delivered to Waterville police dispatchers and the other two to Hannaford employees, Massey said.

According to Raymond, Davis had a short-term club membership and showed up at Champions around 7 p.m. Saturday, closing time, and said he just wanted to quickly use the bathroom. Employees checked the building as usual before locking the doors and shouted out to make sure no one was left inside, according to Raymond.

“He must have hidden somewhere, and the desk personnel didn’t see him when they closed up,” she said.

Massey said Monday that Davis, who police have dealt with several times since April of last year, was arrested and charged with Class C felony burglary, theft by unauthorized taking or transfer and criminal mischief.

Davis was taken to Kennebec County Jail in Augusta and is scheduled to appear in Kennebec County Superior Court April 10, according to Massey.

His arrest followed a series of calls to police late Saturday and early Sunday reporting that alarms were going off at the fitness center located in the southern end of Elm Plaza off upper Main Street. Massey said that an alarm company called police at about 8 p.m. Saturday to report an alarm going off there. Officers responded and checked the perimeter. The alarm company also had called an emergency contact person for the club who came to unlock the doors for police, Massey said. Finding no one, they left, thinking it might be a false alarm. Then at 10 p.m., officers responded to a second alarm, but that time the alarm company was not able to get in touch with a club contact person who might have a key, Massey said.

Then around 1 a.m. Sunday, a person called the police department saying he was a security guard at Champions and a white Cadillac was driving around the building scaring off customers, Massey said.

Alarmed, officers headed to Champions and while they were en route, a motion alarm sounded from inside the club, he said.

Police called a Champions manager, and Raymond, the operations manager, who had remote access to cameras inside the building, called police and said she could see an unauthorized person in the building. Police secured the building and waited for Raymond to arrive.

Raymond said in an interview Monday that she could see the man via the surveillance cameras helping himself to coffee and drinks, taking a towel from a closet and “thumbing through paperwork” at the front desk.

Meanwhile, police Sgt. Jason Longley arrived at Champions after the third alarm and saw a man walk into the front lobby bare-chested, and Longley shone a flashlight on him, Massey said. The man opened the door for Longley, who took him into custody, he said.

“As he was taking him into custody, the man said, ‘No, I’m Basher, the security guard. I work here,'” Massey said.

Police found the box with the half-eaten pizza on the counter and the iPod and other items in the backpack, he said.

Back at the police station later, Sgt. Longley went into the communications center where dispatchers work.

“One of the dispatchers said, ‘Hey, sarge, earlier, Domino’s delivered pizzas to us, and when I asked who sent the pizzas, the delivery guy said some guy at Champions ordered pizzas for us and for Hannaford,'” Massey said.

Massey said police have encountered Davis several times on and off since April 2016, when convenience store or doughnut shop employees called to report a suspicious man on the premises. Sometimes, the man would be gone by the time police arrived, Massey said. When police arrived in time, they saw Davis on the premises. Sometimes he would talk with them and sometimes he would not, according to Massey. Police did not arrest him during those incidents, he said.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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