Micael Bizuneh 072419

Micael Bizuneh Photo courtesy of Augusta police

Augusta police have arrested a 30-year-old Augusta man in connection to the vandalism of numerous motor vehicles on the west side of the city. 

Micael Bizuneh was arrested Tuesday on Chapel Street on a felony charge of aggravated criminal mischief.

Augusta police had taken several complaints over the last several days in the west side neighborhood between Western Avenue and Winthrop Street about large rock-type objects being thrown at vehicles or their windows, Augusta police Chief Jared Mills said. 

“Last night they had another report of damage and found the suspected perpetrator very quickly,” Staff Sgt. Christian Behr said.

That call came in at 8:07 p.m. Tuesday; Bizuneh was arrested at 8:43 p.m.

Mills credited residents for helping police develop a suspect list. 

At least 15 vehicles had been vandalized, according to Mills, but he was not sure of the financial cost of the damage. As an aggravated charge, the damage to the vehicles amounts to at least $1,000.

The intent of Bizuneh’s actions is unknown.

“He was not charged with burglary,” Behr said.

Police issued a warning to residents last week after vehicles on the east side of the city were burglarized, but Mills said he doesn’t think those incidents are connected to this case. 

“We believe this was isolated to this particular area,” he said. “We believe (the east side burglaries) is another individual or individuals.” 

“I do not think there is another serial criminal around,” Behr added.

In the summer, mischief is more likely, he said, suggesting that if residents witness suspicious activity, they should call the police right away. 

“What cracked the case were residents working with us and enabling us to apprehend this person,” Mills said. 

He urged residents to stay vigilant, watching for anything out of the ordinary and parking their vehicles in locations they can see from their homes. 

The Augusta Police Department has a free app called “Tip411, Augusta Maine Police” where residents can submit tips anonymously. The department also has an anonymous tip line at 620-8009.

“The app has worked phenomenally for us,” Mills said, adding that the department receives on average five to six tips each day. “We get tips on a plethora of things.”

The app, however, did not produce tips related to this case of habitual vehicle vandalism. 

Bail for Bizuneh was set at $250 with a secured Maine Pretrial Contract, and conditions include a 6 p.m.-to-8 a.m. curfew, except for employment. He also may not use or possess objects that could be used to damage a vehicle or break windows, such as rocks, bricks or spring-loaded glass-breaking tools, and he will be subject to random searches.

His first court appearance is scheduled for 2 p.m. Oct. 8. A class C felony is punishable by up to five years in jail and a $5,000 fine.

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