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Man with hatchet smashes glass at Falmouth businesses

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Man with hatchet smashes glass at Falmouth businesses

FALMOUTH — Police say a local man took a hatchet to the entrance door and drive-through window of two Route 1 businesses Monday night.

Peter Hamilton, 58, "went on a rampage with a hatchet" at about 9 p.m., shattering the exterior door that led to a lobby with separate interior entrances to Subway and Dunkin' Donuts, Lt. John Kilbride said. No one was hurt in the incident in which Hamilton also smashed the coffee shop's drive-through window and took the hatchet to a license plate on a vehicle in the parking lot, Kilbride said.

"It's the randomness of it – you don't see it coming," he said.

After receiving descriptions of Hamilton and his vehicle from several employees, police picked him up at gunpoint in the Walmart parking lot, where he'd fled in his car after the attack, Kilbride said.

Hamilton was arrested and charged with aggravated criminal mischief, carrying a concealed weapon and violation of condition of release. He is currently in the Cumberland County Jail, Kilbride said.

"We don't know if he has any problems with either establishment," he said.

But after reviewing surveillance video and talking to his employee who had witnessed the incident, Dunkin' Donuts Manager Albert Hutchings said a license plate that contained the word "moose" that was on a car in the parking lot appeared to be the cause of Hamilton's rage.

"He yelled at my closer (Coombs) to tell the guy from next door to take it off his license plate," Hutchings said. "He had a dog with him on a leash while he was breaking the glass. You could see the dog's eyes, wondering what was going on."

Hutchings praised employee Andrew Coombs, of Portland, for his quick thinking. As the glass was being smashed, Coombs locked the inner door and called police.

"He was very smart to stay out of the conflict," Hutchings said. "He stayed on the other side of the counter."

Subway manager, Mike Greve had two employees working at his store when the incident occurred. Company policy prohibits him from releasing employee names. One of the workers had a military background that Greve said helped him handle the situation calmly, locking the door and calling the police.

"I was lucky he was the one in here," he said.

All accounts agree that Hamilton was screaming as he allegedly attacked the building. But once he had smashed the glass, he did not try to enter.

Hamilton, who lives out of his car, has been in Falmouth for most of his life. A few months ago, he had angered some people when he spray-painted "Hate U.S.A." on his Ford Escort, Kilbride said. After a few days, he painted over the words. He has been barred from Fundy Road, where his mother lives, after he allegedly assaulted her a couple of months ago, Kilbride said.

According to police, the destruction caused at least $2,000 worth of damage to the building.

Peggy Roberts can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or proberts@theforecaster.net.