DEXTER — Reginald and Lucille Perkins used to love living at their home on High Street in Dexter. The retired couple took pride in their home and neighborhood and were looking forward to spending their retirement years in their cozy, two-story home.
They say vandals have changed all that. The Perkins are afraid to live in their house. It is up for sale. The couple can’t wait to move to Dover-Foxcroft, where they are building a new home.
Perkins was charged in mid-January with reckless conduct with a firearm after firing shots in his yard to scare off vandals.
According to Reginald Perkins, he and his wife have been terrorized by vandals for the past three years. Perkins said that vandals have stolen $1,500 worth of tools from his garage and 200 gallons of gasoline. Their garage was backed into by these vandals, he said, and the cost of repairing only the siding will be $700. Perkins said that he has put up stakes for a fence a total of 10 times, and each time he repaired the fence, it was knocked down.
The vandals throw rocks into their yard during the summer and it takes the boy who mows their yard three-quarters of an hour to remove them before he can mow. One of the panes of glass on their garage has a BB gun pellet hole in it. The garage and their home has been spray painted, and eggs have been thrown at the buildings. Several weeks ago, one of their cars was spray painted with red paint. When Lucille Perkins went inside to call the police, the vandals returned and sprayed the car with blue paint.
The Perkins’ new truck was so coated with eggs that the corrosive material in the eggs took the paint off inside and out, Perkins said.
The Perkins are called names when they go out to their cars or work in the yard. Sometimes guns are fired near their home, Perkins said.
Their taxi business also has been affected by the vandals, Perkins said, by the frequent obscene and threatening telephone calls he and his wife receive. Perkins said the line is tied up so much with these calls, he is sure that he is losing business from people trying to contact him for a ride.
Their taxi business was initially started by the couple as a way to supplement their Social Security benefits. They estimate that the vandalism acts have cost them “thousands of dollars” and their homeowners insurance has been canceled, Perkins said, because they have made so many claims.
Perkins said that he and his wife don’t dare leave the house because of what might happen when they are gone.
In mid-January, Perkins said, he was pushed to his limit. He had been working all day at his taxi business. His wife went out on a taxi call, and Perkins settled down in front of the television. Suddenly, Perkins said, he heard a series of “bang, bang, bangs” coming from his driveway and looked out a window to see what was happening. When he looked outside, vandals were throwing iceballs at his vehicle. Perkins says he went to his kitchen cabinet and got out his revolver and put three bullets in it and went outside. He fired two shots in the air and warned the vandals to stop. He then went back into the house, put the gun down on the counter, and called the state police in Orono to report what was happening. His wife returned home and after police arrived, Perkins was charged with reckless conduct with a firearm.
Perkins said he knows that it was wrong for him to fire the gun that night, but he wants people to understand that he had been pushed to his limit. He still does not know what can be done to stop the group of vandals from terrorizing him.
According to David Clukey, Dexter police chief, the local force has spent a lot of time investigating these incidents and will continue to investigate them. He said that so far the department has not had enough evidence to take anyone to court. He said the force is following up on several leads that may result in arrests.