MACHIAS, Maine — A string of thefts and burglaries over the past few weeks has led to the arrests of several people by the Washington County Sheriff’s Department and Maine State Police.
Most of the arrests took place over the past few weeks.
Sheriff Donnie Smith said Sunday that although several people had been arrested in connection with the thefts and burglaries, he would not characterize the incidents as that of a burglary ring.
“Some of them were working together, some of them was just coincidental, but I wouldn’t say it was a ring,” Smith said.
On Wednesday, police arrested Nigel White, 20, of East Machias for allegedly violating his bail conditions. At the same, time Donald Vane, 39, of East Machias was arrested on a charge of unlawful possession of scheduled drugs. According to Smith, they also were in possession of several hundred pounds of evergreen boughs that were seized by the Maine Forest Service. Vane also was charged with receiving stolen copper from a theft that happened in the Machiasport area in August.
The next day, police arrested Jared Kjenstad, 24, of Machiasport.
According to Smith, Kjenstad had been “on the run” for about 2½ weeks.
On Thursday, Sgt. Dennis Perry of the Washington County Sheriff’s Department received a phone call from Kjenstad. When Perry suggested that Kjenstad turn himself in to police, Kjenstad agreed to meet police at the Maine Department of Transportation lot in Cherryfield that day.
Perry, along with sheriff’s Lt. Travis Willey and Sgt. Alden Bustard of the Maine State Police, arrested Kjenstad without incident.
“Mr. Kjenstad was questioned and confessed to committing burglaries in Washington and Penobscot counties,” Smith said in a press release. “Kjenstad also confessed to writing several thousands of dollars’ worth of stolen and forged checks in Hancock, Washington and Penobscot counties.”
Kjenstad also told police he had taken money from a vehicle that he recently had borrowed from a woman at the Airline Snack Bar in Beddington.
The Machiasport man told police he had been living in his vehicle on side roads near Route 9 in Hancock County.
While police were searching for Kjenstad, they arrested Adam Sinclair, 27, of Harrington on an outstanding warrant from Washington County Superior Court. They also arrested Ian Sawyer, 28, of Harrington for allegedly hindering apprehension. In addition, they arrested a third subject, whom Smith didn’t identify, on warrants from Hancock County. The men also may be involved in some of the burglaries and thefts.
On Friday, Lt. Willey and Lt. Michael Crabtree of the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency arrested Derek Bridges, 27, of East Machias in connection with a burglary of a motor vehicle in his hometown.
“Subsequent investigations showed that Mr. Bridges was in possession of burglar tools,” the sheriff said in the press release.
When Bridges was interviewed, the sheriff said, he “confessed to approximately 50 motor vehicle burglaries in the Machias area.”
Willey also found rifle shells of an unknown caliber in Bridges’ vehicle that had been impounded by police earlier that day.
“As a result of that, sheriff’s deputies were able to solve an additional burglary to a motor vehicle and theft of firearms,” Smith said.
Police also recovered a Glock .45-caliber handgun that Bridges, before his arrest, apparently had thrown in the brush just off Route 191 in East Machias.
The sheriff said Sunday that police also had arrested Jeremy Hawkins, 23, of East Machias for allegedly violating conditions of his bail. He was charged with five felony counts of burglary, Smith said.
Police also arrested James Corbett, 20, of Machiasport last week on a charge of violating his probation.
“Corbett was arrested and admitted involvement regarding recent thefts in which charges will follow,” Smith said.
Also arrested was Jason Hawkins, 25, of Machias, who was charged with violating his bail.
More charges are expected against all of the men, according to Smith.
The Maine State Police, MDEA and the Machias Police Department assisted with the investigation.
Anyone with information in connection with burglaries and thefts in the area should call the sheriff’s office at 255-4422, Smith said.