Waterville purse snatcher sentenced


Jesse J. Peterson of Pittsfield, ME, was sentenced to 60 days in jail followed by two years of probation on September 29, after being arrested for theft and possession of drugs.

Peterson pled guilty to unlawful possession of cocaine and unauthorized theft, crimes that occurred on June 9 in downtown Waterville. His lawyer also reported that Peterson pled guilty to an earlier charge on May 13 of misuse of identification.

Assistant District Attorney Francis Griffin told centralmaine.com that Peterson stole a purse from a woman shopping at the Paragon Shop on Lower Main Street in Waterville. The woman’s husband chased after Peterson for several blocks and watched him run behind the Morning Sentinel building. Peterson then jumped a guardrail by the Kennebec River.

Police found Peterson in the bushes below the Two Cent Bridge. Peterson’s pants and shoes were wet after falling into the river. A little after 1 p.m., police escorted Peterson from a wooded trail behind the Morning Sentinel building and put him in the back of a police cruiser in the parking lot near the Two Cent bridge. While police were placing him in the back of the police car, Peterson screamed, “Waterville is a cultural wasteland!”

The purse Peterson stole allegedly contained jewelry valued at over $1,200. The woman reported that she was examining the Paragon shop’s merchandise when she felt the straps of her pocketbook shift and saw a man quickly exit the store. She quickly called for him to stop, and her husband chased after him.

After being arrested, Peterson voluntarily turned over the pouch containing the stolen jewelry.

Peterson, listed as transient, also freely told the police that he is a drug addict and that he stole the jewelry to fund for his drug habit.

Although the two charges of theft were dismissed, Peterson was ordered to pay $1,612.53 in restitution. He was released from Kennebec county jail on Tuesday after the hearing, where he has been held on the charges since his arrest in June.

Defense attorney Thomas J. Nale, of Waterville, filed a motion asking for a transfer from the jail to an inpatient rehabilitation facility for Peterson. When arrested in June, Peterson was taken to the Inland Hospital in Waterville, because he complained of feeling ill and was suicidal.

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