SHIRLEY, Maine — Several thousand dollars’ worth of items believed to have been stolen from stores and properties along the East Coast were recovered Thursday from a storage unit in Shirley.
The Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Department executed a search warrant at the storage unit Thursday morning, acting on information it had received the night before.
The unit was rented to Bruce Moore, 46, who formerly was an inn caretaker in the Moosehead Lake region. No charges had been filed by late Thursday afternoon.
Police have been in telephone contact with Moore who is living out of the region and who has three outstanding warrants in Maine for burglary and credit card theft, according to Piscataquis County Sheriff John Goggin. The sheriff said charges are pending.
In a telephone conversation Thursday morning, Goggin said Moore admitted that he had stolen the items.
“He has traveled up and down the East Coast stealing credit cards, buying gift cards with the credit cards and purchasing items, and he also has walked off with display items from stores,” Goggin said.
Moore recently had been released from the Maine State Prison on burglary and theft charges and is on probation, the sheriff said.
Items recovered from the unit, which was stuffed full, included a new couch, new television, new motor scooter, a carved wooden bear, a barbecue grill, a mattress and box spring, fishing equipment from L.L.
Bean, a bureau, a lawn mower, a new acoustic guitar, a new boxed wind chime from the Kittery Trading Post, framed wall hangings, chairs, a new metal detector, mountain bikes, coins and jewelry.
The coins reportedly were stolen from a Monson home earlier this year, according to investigator David Wilson of the Sheriff’s Department.
“There’s thousands of dollars’ worth of stuff here that’s been stolen,” Goggin said Thursday during the search. His department is in the process of contacting law enforcement officials throughout the region regarding the stolen items, he said. “It’s going to be a long and involved process; we’re going to need the help of several law enforcement agencies.”
Some of the items are believed to have been stolen from southern Maine and possibly from other places along the East Coast. Police also found a receipt among the items for another storage unit in Greenville and plan to see whether Moore has items in that facility.
The storage unit in Shirley was so full that police had to move the items gradually to a vacant storage unit offered by business owner Mark Freeman, for processing. The items were inventoried, photographed and then put in a U-Haul truck, two pickup trucks and a van to be taken to a secure facility in Dover-Foxcroft, according to Goggin.
Freeman called police Wednesday night when he noticed Moore’s estranged wife was at the storage unit and had cut a couple of padlocks, Goggin said. He told police that Bruce Moore had left instructions with him that if his wife approached the storage unit to call the police, so that’s what he did.
Goggin said the woman told police that she had intended to take personal belongings from the shed, but she also told police that her estranged husband had stolen some of the items.
Deputies secured the storage unit and returned Thursday morning with a search warrant.
Assisting deputies with the search were state Probation and Parole Officer Dan Dickinson, Greenville Police Chief Jeff Pomerleau, and Piscataquis County Emergency Management Agency Director Tom Iverson Jr., who provided the EMA van for processing of the items and lighting for the storage unit.