November 30, 2012

Drifter charged with Colby computer theft

By Amy Calder
Staff Writer

WATERVILLE -- A man with a history of theft convictions is facing theft charges connected to two laptop computers and a calculator stolen from a Colby College dining hall.

The man, Robert Nichols, 28, listed as transient, was arrested Thursday at Elm Plaza after trying to evade police in a nearby store, Deputy police Chief Charles Rumsey said Friday.

Police were called by Colby College Security officials about the items stolen from Roberts Dining Hall about 1 p.m. Thursday, Rumsey said.

Officer Dennis Picard responded, speaking with security officials and two students whose laptops had been reported stolen, Rumsey said.

Colby staff members told security that they saw a suspicious-looking man on campus carrying a green backpack and wearing a baseball cap and a gray, hooded sweatshirt, Rumsey said.

"The security staff and a number of our officers began checking the Colby College area and other areas of town," Rumsey said.

Officer Dennis Picard spotted Nichols coming out of the Hannaford supermarket, and Nichols tried to evade him by returning to the store, Rumsey said.

Picard detained Nichols and found the stolen laptops in his backpack, Rumsey said.

The items are valued at $4,450, he said.

Nichols was unable to provide $2,500 bail and was taken to the Kennebec County jail in Augusta, Rumsey said.

Nichols is charged with Class C felony theft and is scheduled to appear Jan. 29 in Kennebec County Superior Court in Augusta, Rumsey said.

Police also are investigating Nichols' possible involvement in several other thefts at the college, he said.

Police are familiar with Nichols, who was summoned Tuesday on a shoplifting charge at Walmart, Rumsey said.

Nichols previous convictions, going back to 2008, include illegal drug possession, domestic-violence assault and three counts of theft, Rumsey said.

Amy Calder -- 861-9247


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