Fresh snow key in solving Lubec thefts

Posted Dec. 04, 2008, at 12:14 a.m.

LUBEC, Maine — Two Lubec residents, one of them a minor, face burglary charges after confessing their roles in a series of home burglaries and criminal mischief on North Lubec Road.

Stephen Hall, 19, was arrested on Nov. 24 and taken to Washington County Jail after being charged with burglary. He has since been released on bail and faces a Jan. 26 court date, according to state police Trooper Greg Burns, who investigated the incidents.

A minor, whose name is being withheld, was released into his parents’ custody, Burns said. He is being dealt with through the juvenile justice system, he said.

The burglaries and attempted break-ins occurred on the night of Saturday, Nov. 22, according to a recent news release from state police Lt. Christopher Coleman. The suspects were apprehended two days later.

Coleman said fresh snow and low temperatures were key in solving the case.

During the crime spree, about 2 inches of snow was on the ground. Temperatures stayed in the 20s for the next two days, preserving the tracks the thieves left behind until a neighbor saw them and contacted police.

“We lucked out,” Burns said this week. “It couldn’t have been better conditions. They [the thieves] left beautiful footprints behind — and matching footprints around their house.” Burns followed the prints to Hall’s home.

“Hall consented to show me some boots that he wore. He agreed to go with me [to one of the crime scenes] and we made some impressions,” Burns said. One pair of boots left prints that matched those found there.

“At that point, he began his confession,” Burns said.

After questioning, the minor also confessed, Burns said.

State police launched the investigation after receiving a call from a local man who was keeping an eye on a neighbor’s summer home and discovered that it had been broken into, Coleman said. The caller also discovered at least two more summer homes appeared to have been the targets of criminal mischief.

According to Burns, eight houses were hit within a half-mile area. Two homes were burglarized, and the rest had damage ranging from broken screens and pry marks to broken doorjambs and locks.

Burns said that all of the property taken from the two burglarized houses has been recovered. Taken from one house were a computer printer, hand-held radios and a guitar. Several bottles of wine were taken from the other residence.

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