February 26, 2020

Guilty plea in theft > Fairfield man charged in computer chip case

BANGOR — A Fairfield man who was one of the links in a ring of high-tech thieves that stole about $1 million in computer chips from an Augusta firm pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court.

Chad Alley was charged with interstate transportation of stolen computer chips valued at $5,000 or more and with aiding and abetting in this offense.

The last of a group of people charged in a series of heists at the firm that began in July 1995, Alley pleaded innocent to the crime in November 1996.

Described outside the courtroom as a relatively minor player in a ring of former SCI employees who intended to make a lot of money from the chips, Alley was charged with helping Jonathan Condriet, 29, of Gardiner steal 600 computer chips valued at about $90,000 on July 24, 1995.

Condriet then took the chips to another employee, Amy Lagasse, who had connections in Massachusetts where the chips eventually were found.

Condriet eventually paid Alley $500 for his participation, according to U.S. Attorney Jay McCloskey.

U.S. District Judge Morton Brody released Alley on an unsecured $5,000 bond pending sentencing.

Alley faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the offense.

Six others connected to the ring already have been sentenced.

In September 1996, Roger Wheelock, 37, of Mount Vernon was sentenced to eight years and seven months in prison for stealing more than 5,000 computer chips in an armed robbery on Oct. 15, 1995.

Five others were sentenced in October 1996.

Lagasse, 31, of Hallowell and Condriet each were sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison for their roles in the armed robbery. The pair also pleaded guilty and were sentenced on several charges of interstate transportation of stolen property.

Shawn Barnes, 26, of West Gardiner was sentenced to 29 months in prison on four counts of interstate transportation of stolen property. His cousin, Anthony Barnes, 36, of Wiscasset got 15 months in prison on two counts of interstate transportation of stolen property. Joseph Boulette II, 29, of Augusta was sentenced to 27 months in prison for interstate transportation of stolen property.

In other federal court action Monday, Michael Bowden, 23, of Holden pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. Bowden, according to court records, was convicted and sentenced to 36 months in prison for burglary of a motor vehicle and theft in Ellsworth in 1994.

The firearms charge stems from an Aug. 19, 1996, incident at the Orrington home of Bowden’s former girlfriend. According to court records, Bowden went to the home to collect some personal items and entered the home with a rifle.

He reportedly pointed the gun at the woman and chased her 3-year-old daughter outside after the child ran out of the house. Later he reportedly shot at the woman twice, missing her both times, and hit her with the rifle butt.

He faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He was returned to jail where he has been since his arraignment Sept. 4, 1996.

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