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BAR HARBOR — A Philadelphia television news anchor is using an incident from her trip here in July for a segment on how to deal with an intruder.
Kerri-Lee Halkett claims a masked intruder carrying a crowbar entered her ground-floor room in the Ledgelawn Inn some time around 4 a.m. on July 31. On her Facebook page, Ms. Halkett said the man fled after she demanded that he leave.
“Who says crime only happens in big cities?” Ms. Halkett wrote.
While Ms. Halkett’s description of the intruder might be accurate and she was legitimately frightened, Bar Harbor Police Chief Young is skeptical.
“We haven’t had any incidents like this with a masked man running around Bar Harbor,” he said.
Chief Young said the only information provided to police by Ms. Halkett at the scene was that the intruder was a man. It was several days later that she told police he was wearing a mask and holding something in his hand, he said.
Ms. Halkett’s Facebook post was picked up by other media outlets in the Philadelphia area. The headline for an Aug. 2 column by Michael Klein in the Philadelphia Inquirer proclaims “Kerri-Lee Halkett, crime fighter.”
Contacted last week for comment, Ms. Halkett said she couldn’t talk about the incident and referred further inquiries to Jennifer Best, the community affairs director at the station where she is employed, Fox 29.
Ms. Best said Ms. Halkett would not be able to comment until the live segment on the Bar Harbor incident airs the morning of Aug. 13 on the show GoodDay Philadelphia.
On her Facebook page, Ms. Halkett describes the segment as having an “America’s Most Wanted twist.” It was while working on America’s Most Wanted with host John Walsh that she learned what to do when faced with an intruder, she wrote.
“Hopefully other women can learn something from my experience should they ever find themselves in this situation,” Ms. Halkett wrote.
Ms. Halkett, in town for a wedding, was sharing the ground-floor room at the inn with another Fox television news anchor, Jodi Applegate of News 12 on Long Island, N.Y.
“I pretty much slept through that whole incident,” Ms. Applegate said by telephone on Monday.
Ms. Applegate said she had earplugs in when she was awakened by the sound of Ms. Halkett screaming at someone.
“I never saw him; he was in the doorway,” Ms. Applegate said.
Sharing the room with the women was Ms. Applegate’s golden retriever, Willow, sleeping in a crate by the door. Apparently, it was Willow that alerted Ms. Halkett to the intruder’s presence.
“She growled and I guess that’s what woke Kerri-Lee up,” Ms. Applegate said.
Bar Harbor police were called and officers Tim Frost and Soren Sundberg were on the scene almost immediately. Officer Frost reported that Ms. Halkett later told him that all she could see was a black silhouette of a person with something like a mask over his head and something “long and thin” in his hand. The officers saw no signs of forced entry and Ms. Halkett stated she believed the door had been unlocked.
Officer Sundberg used a spotlight to sweep the area outside and saw a man standing nearby holding a bottle of beer. Once hit by the spotlight, the man dropped the beer and ran off.
Chief Young said Officer Sundberg later located that man and determined that he was not connected with the incident at the inn.
“He was on his way home,” Chief Young said, adding that the man didn’t have a mask, crowbar or other burglary items.
Ms. Applegate said the officers attempted to ease the two women’s fears about the situation.
“I think they were trying to keep us from worrying,” she said. “They thought it was a drunk stumbling home.”
On her Facebook page, Ms. Halkett expresses doubt about the approach of the Bar Harbor police.
“Working with the police up here, I’m worried for the next person he tries for, since he attempted to break in another room last night too,” she wrote.
Ms. Applegate said an inn employee told her and Ms. Halkett someone tried to break into her room at about the same time. But Chief Young said police received no related complaints that night.
Dawn Lueck, who manages the Ledgelawn, reported the two women were “really scared” following the incident.
“They told me he had a crowbar,” she said. When told of the incident another guest said she saw a shadow at the time, Ms. Lueck added.
Ms. Applegate said that from her conversation with Ms. Lueck it appeared the lock to the door had been picked or was in the process of being picked.
There were minor scratches on the lock, Ms. Lueck said on Tuesday. “Of course, that could just have been wear and tear on the door; I’m no expert,” she said.
Ms. Lueck also said the two women told her they thought they locked the outside door to their room but, because it opened so easily, they now believe it wasn’t locked.
The police chief said he was satisfied with how his department handled the investigation. Without other reports or evidence, there is little for the department to follow up on.
“We had no incidents prior to this and we haven’t had any incidents since then,” he said.
For her part, Ms. Applegate remains philosophical about the incident with the intruder and offers some tongue-in-cheek advice for fellow travelers.
“Always carry a golden retriever,” she said.
Robert Levin and Earl Brechlin contributed to this report.
For more police news, pick up a copy of the Mount Desert Islander.