A man suspected of trying to steal vehicles in two communities is in custody after jumping into Pushaw Lake in an effort to escape capture.

Where Were the Alleged Car Thefts?

The Penobscot County Sheriff's Office says Deputies were called to a home on Bennoch Road in Lagrange Saturday for a report of a vehicle that had been stolen. The Deputies were told that Kenneth Lufkin, 37, of Milo had allegedly stolen a blue Chevrolet pickup truck from the driveway. As the investigation into the theft was just getting started, Old Town Police responded to a number of calls from people reporting that Lufkin was allegedly trying to steal other vehicles on Woodland Avenue.

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Why Did He Go Into the Lake?

When law enforcement tried to take Lufkin into custody, he jumped into Pushaw Lake and began swimming toward the middle of the lake. Police agencies from Orono and Old Town responded to the scene, along with members of the fire department and ambulance. They tried several times to rescue Lufkin, but he kept pushing away from the boat and other life-saving devices.

At this point, Lufkin told authorities he couldn't swim. Penobscot County Deputy Justin Angelo jumped into the water and got Lufkin to the boat. He was dragged onboard and continued to resist arrest. With help from members of the Orono and Old Town Police Departments, the suspect was secured in an ambulance and taken to Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center for an evaluation.

What Charges Does He Face?

Once he was cleared by the hospital, Lufkin was transported to the Penobscot County Jail and arrested for the following charges:

  • Theft by unauthorized taking/transfer
  • Refusing to submit to arrest/detention

Officials say more charges are pending.

We'll update this story as more details become available. 

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