2015-09-11 / Community

Police make arrest in Bigfoot grafitti case

By Duke Harrington Staff Writer

Freeman Hatch Freeman Hatch KENNEBUNK — The Bigfoot vandal has been nabbed by the long arm of the law.

On Aug. 19, Kennebunk police took to their Facebook page to ask for the public’s help identifying the person responsible for painting black silhouettes of Sasquatch on buildings and landmarks, mostly in the beach area, but also downtown.

“At least a dozen, if not more” targets had been hit, police said, but what prompted the call to action was “tagging” a historic sign marking the location of the old Boston & Maine Railroad Station on Depot Street.

“These markings deface public property, costing time and money to repair or replace, Police Chief Robert MacKenzie said.

According to KPD spokesman, Lt. Eric O’Brien, the historic marker alone could cost as much as $500 to replace.

The police department’s Facebook posting was reported by local media, including the Post and, less then a week later, the Bigfoot vandal had been caught.

Based on tips, police on Sept. 1 executed a search warrant at the York Street home of Freeman S. Hatch.

The actual stencil used to create the 8-inch-tall Bigfoot images was not found, O’Brien said. The outline — based on the famous “Patterson video,” captured near Bluff Creek, Oregon, in1967 that purports to prove the existence of the elusive monster — is a popular image found in many places online, as a stencil, vinyl decal and T-shirt image.

Even so, plenty of other Sasquatch-related paraphernalia was uncovered in Hatch’s home. But even more helpfully, “he admitted to it,” O’Brien said.

Initially, police had theorized they might be dealing with “the work of 10-year-old who’s just really fascinated with Bigfoot.”

That, at least in part, is what makes the charges leveled against Hatch so “surprising,” as O’Brien put it.

Apart from being known in the community as a photographer, Hatch is 36.

An announcement of the summons on the KPD Facebook page was followed up by general amazement from the public.

Many comments ran along the tomes of, “36 years old? 36? Good lord,” and “36 and vandalizing things? I figured it would be a 14-year-old kid.” Even those who purported to know Hatch seemed dumbfounded. “Oh Freeman what were you thinking?” commented one person.

What motivated Hatch to go on his graffiti spree is unclear, although his own Facebook page sported several images of the mythological forest beast of the American Northwest, some of which have since been taken down. Others however, have taken their place, adorned with the phrases “207 Be Afraid,” and “207 Worldwide Sasquatch Power.”

Hatch was summonsed for criminal mischief and, for pills found in his home during the search, possession of a scheduled drug.

Both, said O’Brien, are Class E crimes, punishable by up to six months in prison and a $1,000 fine.

According to O’Brien, several tips were submitted as a result of the media coverage, as well as the initial plea for help. However, O’Brien also credited “good, old-fashioned police work” on the part of Detective Steve Borst.

“I think all of the coverage helped, it made people more aware, but in the end it came down to a lot of contacting sources and checking around,” O’Brien said. “We got a pretty good description from one witness who didn’t know his name but saw him actually do it.”

O’Brien said Hatch is “known” to Kennebunk police, although he did not have his record on hand.

“Nothing major, and not for a long time, but we have had contact with him in the past,” O’Brien said.

Return to top