AUGUSTA — Workers away from their homes staying in Augusta to help restore electricity following this week’s massive wind and rainstorm woke up Thursday morning to find someone had stolen wire and tools from their trucks.

The theft was reported at 5:41 a.m. Thursday, from power line crew trucks parked at Fairfield Inn and Suites on Anthony Avenue in Augusta. Several items were taken, which together were worth between $1,000 and $5,000.

Augusta Police Staff Sgt. Eric Lloyd said the case is under active investigation and he could not release details. He said multiple victims reported having items stolen from their trucks. The victims were power line and tree crew workers, at least some of them from out of state, in Augusta to help with the restoration of electricity.

The Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott on Anthony Avenue on Friday. Anna Chadwick/Morning Sentinel

Lloyd said the charge listed in a police report on the incident, theft by unauthorized taking or transfer, Class C, is a felony and an indication the value of the property stolen is in the range of $1,000 to $5,000.

Jon Breed, spokesperson for Central Maine Power, said workers with multiple contractor crews had some tools and wire stolen from their trucks. He said it was likely a few thousand dollars worth.

He said the thefts did not impact how long it would take crews to restore power.


“It had no impact on restoration timelines,” Breed said Friday. “The theft, while unfortunate, is just one of those things and we’re glad Augusta Police Department is on it, and our crews were right back to work.”

Breed said the only other similar incident he’d heard of following Monday’s storm was a report that someone had taken some wire that had fallen to the ground in the storm.

The crews in Augusta are among some 1,500 crews working to restore power in CMP’s service area, which was ravaged by the storm. By early Friday evening, about 9,500 of Kennebec County’s 74,000 customers remained without power, with some 19,000 statewide still in the dark. Breed said they expect to have power restored to most customers by Saturday night, just before Christmas Eve, after some 500,000 lost power at some point this past week.


Most of the workers helping to restore electricity seem to be largely appreciated by Mainers, as the Christmas holiday approaches. Some Mainers are showing their appreciation, with food and their own volunteer labor.

About 10 Le Club Calumet volunteers in Augusta, joined by their paid chef and a couple of paid servers, dished up dinner to around 500 line and tree workers involved in restoring electricity and staying in the area Thursday night, and planned to do so again Friday night.


A buffet dinner is prepared at Le Club Calumet in Augusta for linemen who have been working this week to restore electricity in central Maine after a devastating storm knocked out power to thousands of households and businesses. Photo courtesy of Dave Dostie

Mike Bechard, president of the Franco-American Le Club Calumet, said someone from CMP called the club Wednesday night around 7:30 and asked if they could host the massive dinner for power restoration workers Thursday evening. The Club had only gotten its electricity restored earlier Wednesday afternoon, and had less than 24 hours to prepare

They put out a buffet that included seafood Newburg pasta made from scratch, beef bouillon, and a chicken dish.

Bechard said about 10 club members volunteered, putting in several hours each, preparing and serving food, tending to the buffet trays, and doing dishes. He said they didn’t hesitate to step up to feed the workers, for whom CMP paid the club for the food.

“Why wouldn’t you (volunteer to feed them)?,” Bechard said. “That’s a tough job and they’ve probably been eating fast food for the last three or four days. So it’s good for them to get a chance to get a nice cooked meal before they go back out.”

A buffet dinner is prepared at Le Club Calumet in Augusta for linemen who have been working this week to restore electricity in central Maine after a devastating storm knocked out power to thousands of households and businesses. Photo courtesy of Dave Dostie

Bechard said the workers are appreciated, and that they, in turn, appreciated the club’s food and attention.

“Absolutely they did, they said it was the best thing they’ve had in days,” he said.


He said workers attending were from all around the country, and beyond, including a couple originally from Cuba, as well as some workers from Quebec, with whom club members conversed in French.

Le Club Calumet planned to host power restoration workers again Friday night, with the menu to include American chop suey, pork and chicken dishes, and lasagna.

Breed said overall “the reception has been incredible” for workers involved in restoring electricity. He said some people have brought lineworkers coffee and cookies on the side of the road. Organizations, like Le Club Calumet, have hosted events to feed workers. And numerous businesses have made thousands of meals for work crews, who by Friday had been on the job for several days straight.

Meanwhile, at Winslow Elementary School, two classes of fourth graders delivered cards Friday morning to thank line workers for their work to get power restored this week.

Their teachers, Tammey Quirion and Sam Smith, thought of the idea after seeing dozens of trucks staged near the school this week.

Fourth-graders at Winslow Elementary School head toward a line workers’ truck Friday morning after teacher Sam Smith led them to make cards for the workers parked outside the school. The workers, who are from Kentucky, were among many who worked long hours this past week to restore power to hundreds of thousands of Mainers after a powerful storm pummeled the state on Monday. Photo courtesy of Sam Smith and Tammey Quirion

“We talked about that these guys are away from their families and it’s almost Christmas and they’re just trying to help us get our power back,” Smith said. “It was pretty powerful.”


Smith said his class spoke with workers from Kentucky, and his students were struck by their Southern accents. The workers were surprised and “impressed” when roughly 40 students approached their trucks with the cards, Smith said.

“We wanted to do something good for others,” Smith said, “and teach the kids that even small things like that can make a difference in the world.”


As the week ended, state officials said progress continued to be made in recovering from the wind and flooding damage wrought by Monday’s powerful storm.

The Maine Department of Transportation said in a statement Friday that as of 1 p.m. that day there were still 21 road closures and 10 bridge closures. Eleven of the road closures were due to trees and power lines still being in the road, the statement said, while noting that some infrastructure continued to be impacted by high water. Most of the roads and bridges that remain closed were in Franklin and Oxford counties.

Gov. Janet Mills’ office also said in a Friday statement that the Maine Emergency Management Agency had requested that the Federal Emergency Management Agency begin conducting a preliminary damage assessment, with the first formal step toward requesting a “major disaster declaration” from the federal government.

As water levels recede and damage becomes more evident, MEMA has begun working with local officials to estimate the cost of storm damage, according to Mills, who declared a civil emergency on Tuesday.

“Anyone who experienced property damage from this week’s severe wind, rain, and flooding should report it by dialing 2-1-1,” Mills said in a statement. “Sharing your information will help the state of Maine request the maximum amount of federal disaster funds available to help Maine people and communities recover and rebuild. My Administration will use this information and other estimates collected by MEMA to request a major disaster declaration from President Biden as soon as possible, which, if granted will help unlock important federal funding to support our recovery.”

Morning Sentinel reporter Jake Freudberg contributed reporting. 

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