AUGUSTA — The man who reportedly stole an Augusta police cruiser Saturday afternoon took the vehicle while it was unlocked and running outside the police station at 33 Union St.

Court documents show an officer’s AR-15 rifle was inside the cruiser when Kyle King, 27, was driving it, although there is no indication King tried to use the weapon.

Police Chief Jared Mills said Monday that King did not have access to the AR-15 rifle because it was secured with a gun lock.

An Augusta police officer arrests Kyle King, 27, on Saturday afternoon at the Shaw’s Plaza parking lot at 150 Western Ave. Contributed photo

King was arrested shortly after he used the police radio to contact a dispatcher to report he was watching a “suspect” at the parking lot at Shaw’s Plaza at 150 Western Ave. in Augusta.

King, whom police described as a transient resident of Augusta, made his initial court appearance Monday on a Class B (felony-level) charge of theft by unauthorized taking and a Class E (misdemeanor-level) charge of impersonating a public servant.

King’s bail, set at $300 on Saturday, was increased to $2,500 cash by Judge Sarah Gilbert.


Eric Paulson, acting as lawyer of the day, said King is expected to request a court-appointed lawyer.

Paulson, who also reserved the right for King’s bail to be reviewed in the future, said King is homeless and has no ability to pay cash bail.

Prosecutor Shannon Flaherty, an assistant district attorney, said the state has significant concerns about King’s apparent mental health issues, based on the circumstances and facts alleged in the case. She asked that King be given a mental health evaluation before he could be bailed out of jail.

After learning jail officials might not have anyone who could do a mental health evaluation of King, Gilbert ordered he submit to a mental health evaluation while incarcerated, if one is made available to him.

King told police he took and drove off in the cruiser “because he wanted to help,” according to an affidavit filed by Aaron Paradis, the Augusta police officer who was using the cruiser when it was stolen.

Police officials have declined to reveal the identity of the officer involved while an investigation into the incident is ongoing, but Paradis has written in his affidavit, filed at the Capital Judicial Center, it was his cruiser.


King had apparently contacted police earlier, asking that a welfare check be done on an old neighbor of his, and grew tired of waiting for an officer to arrive on Gage Street, so he went to the police station, where he saw the cruiser in the rear parking, the entrance to which is marked with signs reading “Police Only,” but that is otherwise unsecured.

King told police he got into the cruiser and saw a red car leaving the police station, which he followed in the cruiser to Shaw’s Plaza on Western Avenue, according to the affidavit.

“Witnesses on scene stated they watched Kyle get out of the cruiser and then follow a family into Shaw’s,” Paradis’ affidavit reads. “Kyle soon came out and got back into the cruiser.”

Court documents show that when King got to Shaw’s Plaza, he used the cruiser’s communications system to send a message to police dispatchers, identifying himself as “047” and stating he was watching a suspect leave Shaw’s and head toward a white Jeep.

Police estimate the value of the cruiser, a fully marked 2017 Ford Police Interceptor Utility, at between $8,000 and $10,000, but the components inside the cruiser, which included an AR-15 rifle, prisoner divider, radio, siren, emergency lights, modem and camera, are valued at more than $25,000.

Mills said Augusta police officers are assigned a rifle that goes with them during each shift, in case they are called to situations requiring they be armed with more than a sidearm. Such situations could include an active shooter or incidents involving people armed with similar weapons.


Mills said the investigation will determine if the rifle was loaded when the cruiser was taken.

An internal investigation is being conducted now, and while Mills said he could not speak to details of this incident because it is still under investigation, the department always corrects violations of policy when brought to officials’ attention.

Mills said officials are looking at all policies and procedures to make sure what happened does not occur again.

The Police Department’s policy “dictates that our doors are locked and the keys are not left in the vehicle to prevent something like this from happening,” Mills said.

Still declining to identify Paradis, Mills said the officer whose cruiser was stolen is a good officer with an exceptional record.

Information on how long Paradis has been with the city’s Police Department and whether he has ever been disciplined was not available Monday.


Adriana Jackson of Farmington said she, her husband, Chris Jackson, and their two young daughters came to Augusta on Saturday to take part in Christmas activities, and stopped at the Shaw’s supermarket that afternoon.

She said they noticed a man, reportedly King, seemed to be following them as they entered the store, and continued doing so once inside, including getting extremely close to her family.

After a confrontation with the man inside the store, the four family members left, but Jackson said the man followed them outside and got into a police cruiser. With the cruiser’s lights and siren activated, the man inside the cruiser approached the family’s vehicle, but Augusta police then arrived and arrested him.

Deputy Police Chief Kevin Lully said the officer whose cruiser was stolen was taking a report in the lobby of the police station at about 1:30 p.m. Saturday when the alleged theft occurred.

“I walked out of the Augusta Police Department to find my cruiser … had been taken from the parking lot,” Paradis wrote in his affidavit. “Next to where (the cruiser) had been parked, was a shopping cart full of belongings. I went back to the police department to have dispatch check the GPS system and the cruiser was showing at the parking lot of the Shaw’s supermarket.

“While other units were responding to Shaw’s, a male voice could be heard speaking over the radio. Units arrived on scene and found Kyle to be in operation of the cruiser.”

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