Former Portland police officer gets prison for stealing $500,000 from department’s credit union

Good evening and happy August from BDN Portland’s Oakdale outpost. Dan MacLeod is off today so I’ll be walking you through the city’s happenings.

What we’re talking about

This morning, a former Portland police officer who pleaded guilty in 2015 to embezzling more than $500,000 from a credit union set up for his fellow officers was sentenced in federal court to a year and a day in prison and ordered to repay the entire sum.

John Barry, 69, served for nearly three decades as an officer on the city force before becoming a manager of the Portland Police Department Federal Credit Union, which manages money for city police officers as well as officers with the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department.

Between 2009 and 2013, Barry embezzled $533,791 from the credit union, funneling the money to his family members and into his own bank account, and falsified financial records to cover the theft, according to court documents.

You can read the full story here.


Mainer takes last ride on railroad he helped build — Troy R. Bennett writes: “[Will] Jodrie died last Saturday at the age of 93. His family … chartered a special 10 a.m. train at the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad on Friday in his honor. They rode to the end of the line on the East End and scattered Jodrie’s ashes over the outgoing tide of Portland Harbor from the old train trestle.

“Jodrie spent more than a decade volunteering at the railroad, repairing trains, building exhibits and laying the very tracks the locomotive rumbled over on his last ride. He wasn’t so much a train buff as he was a man who like working, being useful and setting things right.”

Trump’s Portland visit has pundits puzzled — Noel Gallagher reports: “Donald Trump is making yet another unconventional move: campaigning in liberal Portland for the second time this year even though most Republicans consider the more conservative 2nd Congressional District as his best bet to pick up an electoral vote in Maine.”

But as Michael Shepherd, one of the BDN’s political writers, notes, the location of Trump’s visit is being overplayed in some circles. The state’s media will cover a presidential candidate’s visit wherever it is, and for Trump’s two previous campaign visits to Maine, supporters traveled from all over the state to see him.

Further, the Lewiston-Auburn area, which is a key battleground in the 2nd District, is part of the Portland television market. And when have Trump’s actions not puzzled pundits during this election cycle?

Scales’ chef jumps shipKathleen Pierce wrote over the weekend that the chef who was instrumental in adding edge to Scales’ classic New England fare is moving on from fish chowder and fried squid after four months on the job. Mike Smith is leaving the large downtown eatery in the middle of high tourist season for a position at the pizza place that is being opened by the owners of another major downtown eatery, Central Provisions. Smith’s position will be filled by two of Scales’ other chefs.

Big ideas

How the Islamic State recruits child soldiers — German news magazine Der Spiegel has a harrowing tale of two young boys who fled Islamic State captivity:

“It is difficult to determine how many child soldiers Islamic State is training. Experts estimate that about 1,500 boys are serving the terrorist group in Iraq and Syria. Some are born to the militants. In fact, more than 31,000 women are currently pregnant in IS-held territory. Other children arrive with their parents from abroad when the parents join the jihadist movement. In many cases, the ‘lion cubs’ are also children of local fighters or orphans who join IS voluntarily. Others, like Ahmed and Amir, are kidnapped.”   

With tough electoral map, Trump aims to contend in Democratic states The New York Times reported this weekend that to win the presidency Republican candidate Donald Trump will likely have to take the nation’s three most important swing states — Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania — plus stave off Democrat Hillary Clinton in red-leaning states such as North Carolina. The Democratic campaign for Clinton seems to be taking some heart from how the electoral map is shaping up.

Meanwhile, The Washington Post lays out a “totally plausible” map to victory for Trump, one that gives him Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida, but not Maine.

But Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort told the Times that the businessman intends to battle back by putting historically blue states in play. This strategy may go some way toward explaining the visit Trump will pay to Portland, as well as Plattsburg, New York, on Thursday.

Got any interesting story ideas, suggestions or links to share? Email Jake Bleiberg at, or tweet @JZBleiberg.

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