An Augusta police officer arrests Kyle King, 27, on Nov. 26, 2022, at the Shaw’s Plaza parking lot at 150 Western Ave., after King stole a city police cruiser. Contributed photo

AUGUSTA — An Augusta man has been found not criminally responsible by reason of insanity for stealing a city police cruiser nearly a year ago and sending radio transmissions that he was watching a suspect.

Kyle King, 28, stole the Augusta police cruiser Nov. 26, 2022, after it had been left running and unlocked outside of the police station. He drove it to a supermarket across town, where he was eventually taken into police custody.

At the Capital Judicial Center in Augusta on Wednesday, King pleaded guilty — but not criminally responsible — to a Class B charge of theft by unauthorized taking charge and a misdemeanor-level charge of impersonating a public servant.

Justice Michaela Murphy read an evaluation of King’s mental health by a doctor who had determined King was suffering from delusions that interfered with his ability to appreciate the wrongfulness of his actions at the time of the offenses. Murphy agreed King was not criminally responsible and ordered he be placed into the custody of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.

King was taken from court to the Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center in Bangor for treatment, until his mental health improves enough that he can be released by state officials without concerns he could be a risk to himself or others.

“You’d be held (at the psychiatric center) for treatment, for an indeterminate period of time,” Murphy warned King before accepting his plea. “Nobody in this courtroom could tell you how long you will be there. It could be for a period of time that might actually exceed the amount of time if you were put in jail, if you were convicted at trial. Do you understand that?”


Kyle King Augusta Police Department photo

King said he understood.

If King had been found guilty and criminally responsible, the Class B theft charge could have carried a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

On the afternoon of Nov. 26, 2022, King stole an Augusta police cruiser that Officer Aaron Paradis had left unlocked and running at a parking lot outside the police station at 33 Union St., while Paradis was inside taking a report in the lobby.

King, who had gone to the station to request a well-being check on a friend, got into the cruiser and drove off, heading to Shaw’s Plaza at at 150 Western Ave. King later told police he did so “because he wanted to help,” prosecutor Tyler LeClair, an assistant district attorney, said Wednesday in court.

King drove the cruiser to Shaw’s Plaza, where he used the police radio to contact a dispatcher to report he was watching a suspect in the parking lot. LeClair said King identified himself over the police radio as “047,” a transmission that other officers heard. A passerby in the parking lot came up to the cruiser and asked King if he was a cop, to which he nodded his head yes, LeClair said.

While there, King also apparently left the police car to follow members of a family into Shaw’s supermarket, where he had a confrontation with them. He then returned to the cruiser, activated its lights and sirens and approached members of the same family at their car, according to a woman involved in the incident.


Augusta police then arrived and dragged King out of the car and onto the ground. The officers then arrested him.

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 in a gun lock, a prisoner divider, a radio, a siren, emergency lights, a modem and a camera, are valued at more than $25,000.

In April, King was found not competent to stand trial and was committed to the Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta for treatment meant to restore his mental competency so he could participate in his legal defense. He was later evaluated by a psychologist, who determined King did not appreciate the wrongfulness of his actions while stealing the cruiser.

Murphy said King is required to remain in custody of the state and undergo treatment unless and until a court finds that his discharge or release would not endanger him or others. She said the goal is to restore his mental health.

King, who told the judge he is taking prescribed medication, will have the right to petition the court every six months, to seek more freedoms and less-restrictive conditions, and to seek his release from state custody.

His lawyer, Lisa Whittier, said she believed King was making a good decision in his plea.

“Mr. King, I wish you good luck and good health,” Murphy said before King was taken from the courtroom.

As part of disciplinary action following an internal investigation, Paradis was given a one-day unpaid suspension, according to Deputy Chief Kevin Lully of the Augusta Police Department.

Chief Jared Mills said after the incident last year that the 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.”

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