Maine State Police believe the two Millinocket men they arrested Monday night for burglary of a camp on Mattaseunk Lake in Molunkus Township in Aroostook County committed more than 30 other camp break-ins in a four-county area.
James Willis, 34, and David Bechard, 30, who recently moved to Millinocket from the Augusta area, were charged with one count of burglary each, but other charges are pending, according to Trooper Matt Grant.
Grant and Trooper Barry Meserve made the arrests with the assistance of Millinocket police.
“They’re responsible for in excess of 30 or so” camp break-ins, Grant said Tuesday. He said that includes more than 20 at Ambajejus Lake in northern Piscataquis County and similar camp break-ins on Smith Pond and South Twin Lake in Penobscot County.
Police also believe the two men are responsible for two burglaries at storage units in the Augusta-Manchester area, Grant said.
The two are expected to make their initial court appearances today in Bangor District Court. They were being held Tuesday at Penobscot County Jail.
Grant said the arrests came after the department received reports Monday of six break-ins at Mattaseunk Lake that occurred Sunday night. The investigation into those break-ins led police to Bechard and ultimately to Willis, he said. The two reportedly were traveling in a maroon-colored vehicle.
State police and the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Department both had the camp break-ins under investigation. The first was reported Sept. 1, and the numbers escalated over the past month.
Grant said a variety of items was taken from the camps, including electronics, television sets, VCRs, electronic games, camping items, household goods and two firearms.
“There has been a large amount of property recovered from these burglaries,” he said.
Owners of camps that were broken into should contact either the state police or the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Department to identify items taken. Those property owners who have not checked their camps in the Millinocket region in recent months should do so, he said.
There may be additional camp break-ins that have not been reported, he said.