Duane Taylor of Augusta picked up a concrete block from in front of Peabody Sausage House at 2:40 p.m. July 29, and tossed it through a plate glass window in the entry hall to the business at 105 W. 9th St. Taylor, 53, had no apparent connection to Peabody. He had spent the morning wandering around the community, evidently not making contact with anyone.
“I was here alone,” employee Marilyn Unruh said. “I saw him walking around out front and wondered what he was doing. I went to get a slab of bacon to slice and heard glass breaking. The concrete block was on the hallway floor.
“He was walking across our parking area, not in a hurry or anything, and I went to the door and yelled, ‘Hey’ at him. He didn’t stop or turn around or acknowledge that I had hollered at him. He just kept walking across 9th St. and then went south on Walnut St.”
Unruh called 911 and reported the incident, giving a description and information about the direction in which he was headed.
Police Chief Bruce Burke was on his way to court in Marion when the call came in. He returned to Peabody, arrested Taylor, and charged him with criminal damage to property.
Burke also contacted Peabody EMS to examine Taylor before he was transported to Marion County Jail.
“His behavior was such that I thought he might have medical issue that could need attention,” Burke said.
The EMS crew examined him, but did not transport him to a medical facility.
“The case remains an open criminal investigation,” Burke said. “We are working on it and anticipate it being prosecuted to the fullest extent. We haven’t gotten an estimate on damages yet so I don’t know right now if he will be charged with a felony or a misdemeanor.”
Neither Unruh nor Peabody Sausage House owner Mike Berger knew anything about Taylor.
“He is not a customer,” Berger said. “He is not someone we have ever dealt with as far as we know.” Unruh said she had seen Taylor early Tuesday morning when she drove to work.
“He was sitting on the curb over there by the big Peabody sign on the corner,” she said. “He was gone when I went to lunch at noon, and then when I came back, he was laying in the grass in front of the sign with his feet sticking out in the street. I thought he was acting kind of strange, but I didn’t pay too much attention to him.
“The police and sheriff’s deputy had me identify him in the officer’s car, but I sure never saw him around here before Wednesday.”
Berger said his building is insured, but he has a deductible amount that will probably mean he will pay for most of the replacement cost himself.
“Still, I’m glad it was only a piece of glass,” he said. “We just never know.”