AUGUSTA — A Pennsylvania woman held on $20,000 bail on Friday remained behind bars for the holiday weekend, charged with a second break-in after police reported finding her bloody hand prints on a window in a China home.

Jessica Rose Rohwer, 37, of Scott Township, Pennsylvania, also faces new charges of burglary, criminal mischief and criminal trespass from the break-in that apparently occurred Thursday following a high-speed chase through three central Maine towns.

Rohwer later told police she and her husband fled because “people are after them.” The vehicle crashed and caught on fire.

She was charged Friday with burglary, assault and theft for a break-in at one home where she allegedly took keys and tried to drive away in the homeowner’s Jeep before he pulled her out of it.

The new charges were brought Saturday after the homeowner’s son called police to say he found footprints in the snow leading to his separate residence and blood on the side of the home where he is building a new addition. Rohwer made an initial court appearance on the new charges Tuesday at the Capital Judicial Center via video from the Kennebec County jail.

An affidavit by Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Jacob Pierce says he and the caller located a new window that had been broken out and blood.


They followed a blood trail along the floor and on wooden beams and then up the stairs where Pierce said they found an open window with “what appeared to be bloody hand prints on the window.” The homeowner said he had left that window closed.

Rohwer’s hands “had lacerations and were bleeding,” police say, when she was located after the break-in at the other Lakeview Drive home.

Investigators also reported finding $38,200 in cash in fanny packs on Rohwer when she was arrested Thursday evening.

The chase Thursday began on Riverside Drive in Vassalboro, according to an affidavit by Deputy Jeffrey Boudreau, of the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office. The deputy said he saw a white Ford Expedition pass him going north at an estimated 100 mph and then almost collide with a southbound vehicle while passing another motorist.

Boudreau said he turned on his emergency lights and siren to try to get the sport utility vehicle to stop, even as he witnessed five “near head-on collisions” with other cars.

Police broke off the chase twice, and shortly afterward residents on a fire road in China reported a car on fire and two people fleeing.


Then people living at Lakeview Drive reported that a woman broke into their home and was bleeding.

Rohwer was arrested there and taken to the hospital for treatment before being taken to Kennebec County jail. Boudreau wrote that she later told him she and her husband were former methamphetamine addicts but had been clean for eight years.

Rohwer’s husband, Robert E. Rohwer, 33, also of Scott Township, Pennsylvania, was arrested near Lakeview Drive. He was charged with eluding an officer, driving to endanger and motor vehicle speeding up to 108 mph. His bail was set at $50,000 and he remains at the Kennebec County jail as well.

On Monday, Judge Evert Fowle set $5,000 cash bail on the new charges against Jessica Rohwer.

The prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Kristin Murray-James, had sought $20,000 in addition to the $20,000 set on the other charges. Murray-James said the new charges were not known when Rohwer was in court on Friday.

Murray-James listed a series of prior criminal convictions for Rohwer, including convictions in 2010 for criminal possession of stolen property, unauthorized use of a vehicle stolen property and a 2008 conviction for unlawful possession of methamphetamine as well as theft, criminal trespass and criminal mischief. She said most of those were from Oregon. Murray-James also said there were non-extraditable warrants for Rohwer’s arrest from Washington state and from Oregon.


Attorney Stephen Bourget, acting as lawyer of the day, requested bail be kept at the $20,000 amount set on Friday.

“I don’t think consecutive bail is appropriate,” Bourget told the judge. He said Rohwer was seen via video on Friday. “She has quite a story to tell. She did enter a building; she said she was asking for help.”

Bourget said she and her husband saved the money and were coming to Maine to buy land.

Fowle added a condition of bail that bans Rohwer from being in the town of China and from having contact with the property owner.

She is due in court again 2 p.m. Feb. 13, 2018.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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