A man facing charges of financial exploitation failed to show up for trial Monday, prompting a judge’s decision to increase his bail and issue a warrant for his arrest.

Theodore Thomes, 58, is in the U.S. Virgin Islands, prosecutors said, and is planning to have hip replacement surgery. That’s the same reason he cited for missing his original trial date in November, said Leanne Robbin, who heads the financial crimes division of the Maine Attorney General’s Office and had planned to prosecute the three-day trial beginning Monday in Cumberland County Superior Court.

Superior Court Justice Thomas Warren said he was increasing Thomes’ bail from $10,000 cash to $40,000 cash and would issue a warrant for his arrest to bring him to Maine for trial. Warren said he’s not sure how the warrant will be handled by the U.S. Marshals Service, so he didn’t immediately set a new date for the trial.

Thomes has been charged with three counts of theft by deception for his dealings with an elderly Windham neighbor. In the indictment of Thomes, prosecutors say that he “inserted” himself in the man’s life after the alleged victim, Don Penta, now 70 years old, received a large inheritance.

Thomes began billing Penta for running errands and driving him to appointments, receiving $1,000 to $2,000 a week, the indictment alleges.

After Penta was hospitalized and had surgery, according to the indictment, Thomes stole antique guns, jewelry and a coin collection from him. After he was confronted by a detective with the attorney general’s office, Thomes returned most of the items but allegedly sold the guns through a New Hampshire auctioneer for more than $11,000.


In early 2015, Thomes was sentenced to 27 months in prison on a federal charge of being a felon in possession of firearms. His wife, Renee Thomes, was sentenced to 30 days in jail for illegally transferring the guns to an out-of-state resident.

In 2011, the indictment said, Thomes induced Penta to provide him with a $50,000 loan and wrote a bogus promissory note – with no interest rate or date for repayment – and then received another $250,000 from him after threatening to have him declared incompetent and also saying he would sue over injuries Thomes allegedly received when Penta fell on him.

Warren told Thomes’ attorney, Devens Hamlen, that the trial has been delayed too many times.

“This case needs to go forward,” he said. “One way or another, we really need to move this case.”

Penta declined to comment when contacted Monday.

Hamlen confirmed that Thomes was planning to have hip replacement surgery, but said he couldn’t confirm his location.

Robbin said Thomes is still on probation for the federal gun charges and had surrendered his passport, but was able to travel to the Virgin Islands, a U.S. territory.

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