Facebook photos gift-wrap suspect for Falmouth police

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FALMOUTH — A South Portland man who turns 19 on Christmas Eve was charged with shooting down a Christmas tree after police discovered he posted photos of the activity on Facebook.

Police said Officer Jeff Pardue was sent to the Skillins Greenhouses property on Blackstrap Road on Nov. 28 to investigate a missing Christmas tree. In the tree’s place he found a pile of shotgun shells and abandoned tires.

“Pardue came back and did some research on Facebook, and discovered a young man dressed in hunter orange posing next to the tree, bragging that he shot down the tree, (and) pictures of it set up and decorated in his house,” Lt. John Kilbride said.

Kilbride said the tree in the photos was decorated with beer cans, shotgun shells and women’s panties. The photos were posted on a page owned by Tyler Winslow, 18, of 38 Devereaux Circle, South Portland.

Using the photos as evidence, police obtained a search warrant, went to Winslow’s apartment and seized the tree, shotgun shells and shotgun allegedly used in the incident. They issued Winslow summonses for theft, criminal mischief and criminal trespassing.

“There’s an immaturity level here in dealing with weapons, and the carelessness in discharging firearms” Kilbride said. “I see a young man who needs to take this seriously or someone’s going to get seriously hurt.”

Kilbride said the Maine Warden Service is also investigating, and that Winslow, whose birthday is Dec. 24, could lose his hunting license for five years if convicted.

Emily Parkhurst can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or eparkhurst@theforecaster.net. Follow Emily on Twitter: @emilyparkhurst.