Fugitive arrested

Kathy McCarty, Special to The County
10 years ago

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    PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — A fugitive who fled the state several years ago is back in custody, thanks to the investigative work of Officer Ryan Eagles of the Presque Isle Police Department.

    Using the Internet, Eagles was able to track down the whereabouts of John Vaillancourt, 49, who fled Maine around 2006 after he’d been arrested on a number of charges.

    “It all started when I got a warrant list printed out last year. I saw the type of crime Vaillancourt had committed and decided to try to locate him. Given the nature of his crimes — a felony-level robbery — I thought it should be a priority of the police department to locate him,” said Eagles.

    Eagles said he started with Vaillancourt’s last known address and went from there.

    “Nobody there had heard of him. The investigation was put on hold when I went to the academy. I resumed the search when I returned. Using the computer and phone records, as well as his driver’s license, I was able to locate him in Key West,” said Eagles.

    Eagles said he called police in Key West and asked for their assistance.

    “They were able to locate him fairly easily,” he said.

    On Tuesday, March 25, Eagles and Sgt. Eric Erickson, of the PIPD, flew to Key West to bring Vaillancourt back to Maine.

    “We picked him up at the Monroe County Detention Facility in Key West. He’s a fugitive from justice and was essentially arrested on the warrant, which allowed Florida to hold Vaillancourt on our warrant,” said Eagles, adding, “when he was originally arrested in Key West, he was also charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana, which he did the time for while waiting for us to pick him up.”

    Eagles said Vaillancourt waived extradition. “If he’d wanted an extradition hearing, it would have required a governor’s warrant to get him back to Maine.”

    Vaillancourt was originally charged by the PIPD for crimes around 2004, including robbery, criminal restraint, theft and assault. Eagles said he skipped bail around 2004-05 and hadn’t been seen since.

    “Vaillancourt may have gone to Ohio first. He’s more or less a transient — made his way to Florida and hasn’t been back since. He still has family here,” said Eagles.

    The PIPD received assistance from Florida police as well as federal law enforcement.

    “This was our case to begin with. We felt he needs to be brought to justice, due to the severity of crimes against another person of our community,” said Eagles. “We are not releasing the victim’s name at this time.”

    Eagles said Vaillancourt’s return to the state came at minimal expense to the department.

    “The PIPD didn’t pay anything to bring Vaillancourt back to Maine. The Department of Corrections and the Aroostook County D.A.’s office split the extradition costs 50/50. The only cost to the department were the hours I put in to find him,” said Eagles.

    Vaillancourt is currently being held without bail at the Aroostook County Jail in Houlton. Vaillancourt will appear in Caribou Superior Court at a later date.