Three people who allegedly robbed dozens of businesses in multiple counties after disabling security systems and cameras have been indicted in connection with seven such burglaries in Kennebec County.

Charles York, 46, of Lewiston, as well as Billie Jo Garland, 46, of Auburn, and his wife, Amanda Garland, 41, were indicted recently by a Kennebec County grand jury on seven burglary counts each, including five counts stemming from an April 17 slew of burglaries in Winthrop. Those incidents involved the theft of $1,200 worth of pre-rolled marijuana joints from Earth Keeper Cannabis, a medical marijuana shop at 357 Main St. in Winthrop.

That address is the site of a small strip mall, where the three suspects allegedly entered after York cut telephone and internet connections to the building to prevent security systems from alerting authorities or capturing their images while in the act, according to Paul Ferland, acting police chief in Winthrop. They then burglarized not just the medical marijuana shop, but also Focus on Beauty hair salon, China Empress restaurant, and Winthrop Workspace co-working office, all in the same building.

Ferland said the three were linked to those burglaries in Winthrop following an investigation of dozens of burglaries, lead by authorities with Auburn police and Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office. That probe resulted in the indictment last month of the Garlands and York on at least 11 burglary charges each by an Androscoggin County grand jury.

The three were arrested April 27 in Auburn, following an investigation by multiple law enforcement agencies into a rash of break-ins that started March 2. In the overnight hours that night, East Auburn Baptist Church was burglarized, with cash and other items taken.

“They were doing these (burglaries) at all hours of the day and night,” Ferland said.


All three also face charges of criminal mischief, for allegedly cutting the wires to the businesses before burglarizing them.

Ferland said during the investigation, which included searching their residences, police determined the three were responsible for several burglaries in Kennebec County. They included the April 17 burglaries at the strip mall in Winthrop as well as, on the same date, Fast Eddie’s Drive-in in Winthrop.

They were also indicted on burglary charges for allegedly burglarizing Monmouth Kwik Shop March 13, and Doolin’s Pub at Meadows Golf Club in Litchfield April 5.

An indictment is not a determination of guilt, but it indicates that there is enough evidence to proceed with formal charges and a trial.

For those seven Kennebec County burglaries, the Garlands are both charged with seven counts of burglary, while York is charged with seven counts of burglary and seven counts of criminal mischief, for allegedly being the one who cut communication wires in those incidents.

In 2019, York was sentenced to 40 months behind bars, time he had already served, on a charge of violating a condition of release. It was the result of a plea agreement with state prosecutors who had charged York as one of three suspects in dozens of burglaries across the state. That case included the theft of more than $10,000 from the Augusta Elks Club intended to cover the cost of a fundraiser for wounded veterans. The Elks lodge theft was part of what authorities said was a 2015 burglary spree involving more than $200,000, between the value of the items taken and damage done to facilities by getting into them.

Billie Jo Garland has a long criminal history of burglaries and thefts in the Lewiston area dating back to 1994 and has served significant prison sentences, according to the Sun Journal. No criminal records were found in Maine for Amanda Garland.

Related Headlines

Comments are not available on this story.