Police say homicide, burglaries link unlikely

Posted Sept. 15, 2009, at 10:44 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 11:41 a.m.

CARIBOU, Maine — Although police still are not sure who killed Darrel Smith, they no longer believe that a chain of crimes that took place before Smith’s death are linked to the homicide.

Smith, 56, was found shot to death on Feb. 6, 2008, in the sawmill at his residence on Thomas Road in Woodland. His wallet was taken and a safe was reported missing from the residence.

State police investigators believe the motive for the crime was robbery.

Investigators initially speculated that several burglaries of safes in Aroostook County between August 2006 and early 2008 might have been linked to the crime.

During that time period, police agencies from throughout The County were busy handling reports of residential burglaries.

In a 2007 burglary at a residence in Easton, thieves took a safe with close to $57,000 in cash inside it. The cash was wrapped in fiberglass insulation and approximately $3,000 in coins was stolen as well. The crime was not discovered until days later.

Similar residential burglaries took place in locations from Madawaska to Reed Plantation in which safes, guns, money and other items were taken.

At the state police barracks in Houlton, detectives working on the Smith homicide case created a map pinpointing the locations.

State police Detective Sgt. John Cote said Tuesday that police now are less inclined to believe the burglaries are linked to the Woodland homicide.

Cote pointed out that most of the burglaries and thefts took place when people were not at home and that those victimized arrived home to find their belongings missing.

In the Smith case, the 56-year-old victim was working at home. Cote said the Smith murder took place in daylight, when someone approached Smith’s business and killed him while inside.

Cote said the perpetrator had to have known that Smith would be home.

“The residence was approached when someone was right there,” he said.

He noted that some of the burglaries that occurred during that time span have been solved, making them less likely to be connected to the homicide.

On Tuesday, investigators with state police Criminal Investigation Division III announced that the reward being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the Smith homicide had increased to $40,000.

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