Man Gets 7 Years for Attack on Woman Who Faked Heart Ailment to Get Help

A convicted sex offender who attacked an 81-year-old woman while she was watching the Super Bowl in her Hampden home was handed a seven-year prison term in Penobscot County Superior Court.

The woman, who did not attend the sentencing Wednesday, had faked a heart attack to scare off Daniel Thanem after he broke into her home Feb. 3 and started pushing her toward a bedroom.

Thanem, 45, of Winterport, pleaded guilty to burglary and assault charges. He was sentenced to 10 years with all but five years suspended, plus three years' probation and a $300 fine.

Because he was on probation at the time of the attack, the judge revoked the remainder of his probation and tacked an additional two years onto his prison term.

Thanem was convicted of rape in Alabama in 1984 and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

The Hampden woman was watching the Super Bowl alone about 10 p.m. when she spotted a man walking toward her bedroom, police Sgt. Dan Stewart said at the time.

When the woman asked the intruder what he was doing in her home, he grabbed her from behind and began pushing her toward the bedroom, Stewart said. As she struggled to break free from the man's grasp, the woman said she was having a heart attack.

After the woman told the man her heart medication was in her car, he dragged her to the garage to retrieve the medication. Once they returned to the home, the man pushed the woman into a bathroom and told her to stay there. He then fled and the woman called police.

Thanem was arrested minutes later when a police officer on routine patrol pulled up behind a pickup truck parked beside the road near the victim's home.

The woman did not see her attacker from the front but provided a description of the boots and coat he was wearing, Stewart said. That description matched the clothes worn by the man in the truck.