SKOWHEGAN — District Attorney Maeghan Maloney has filed felony arson charges against a 15-year-old boy who is accused of setting fire to four cars and damaging three others June 12 outside the Family Circle apartment complex in Skowhegan.

Maloney said the teenager, who lives at Family Circle, is charged as a juvenile with four counts of Class A felony arson and with three counts of misdemeanor criminal mischief for damaging or destroying three other vehicles or vehicle parts.

The investigating agency was the Office of State Fire Marshal.

Maloney would not discuss any possible motive in setting the fires while the case is still pending. It was unclear Monday if the teenager has an attorney yet or when he is scheduled to appear in court.

Maloney said by phone Monday that the charges against the boy read the same as would a criminal complaint if he was an adult, but he will not be charged or tried as an adult. The maximum penalty on felony convictions for a juvenile is incarceration at the Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland until he reaches the age of 21, according to Maloney.

Four vehicles in the Family Circle housing complex on West Front Street were set on fire around 4:15 a.m. on Monday, June 12. Two of the vehicles were destroyed and the others were badly damaged. The three other vehicles that were damaged were nearby.

Investigators determined the fires were set by lighting combustible materials inside the vehicles. While searching the boy’s home, authorities found a set of keys to one of the vehicles under his pillow.

He was taken to the Mountain View Youth Development Center in Charleston, but no longer is in juvenile detention, Maloney said. Maloney said she has “an agreed-to springing order” for a mental health evaluation that also “allows him to leave custody the moment an evaluation bed becomes available,” Maloney said.

“He is in a protective environment, but he is not in juvenile detention,” Maloney said.

Quincy McLaughlin, owner of a 2001 Mazda Protege LX that was set afire, said he thinks the fire started in his gas tank.

“They shoved a rag down in there or something,” he said on June 12. “My neighbor came pounding on my door at 4:15 this morning and told me my car was fully engulfed.”

McLaughlin, 24, said his front window had been smashed out the previous week and suspects the fire might have something to do with that incident.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]


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