OLD TOWN, Maine — Police got a major break Sunday afternoon in their effort to solve a rash of vehicle burglaries that extend as far back as last winter.
Authorities so far have identified four possible suspects and the investigation is continuing.
Since Jan. 1, Old Town police have fielded nearly 90 vehicle break-in reports, Officer Ryan Fitch said Wednesday night. Of those, only a few have been solved and those were isolated incidents. The rest occurred in waves, with multiple vehicle being struck overnight, he said.
“We’re looking at these guys for most of them,” Fitch said.
Most of the stolen items were high-end electronics, including GPS units, cell phones, cameras and iPods, Fitch said. Cash also was taken as was a costly Les Paul guitar, he said.
Fitch said that the break came when a Hamel Lane homeowner called to report that three males were in his yard. The homeowner told police that he saw two of the males going through his vehicles while a third served as the lookout, Fitch said.
He said that when the homeowner came out of his house, the group ran off. The man followed two of the suspects in his vehicle to a Main Street residence. The lookout fled elsewhere.
When police arrived at the Main Street residence, they found two of the suspects — Andrew Haddow, 19, of Old Town and a juvenile male whose name is being withheld because of his age, Fitch said. He said the two suspects admitted they had been breaking into vehicles since winter.
Haddow was arrested and charged with burglary to a motor vehicle, receiving stolen property, providing liquor to a minor and allowing a minor to possess or consume alcohol, Fitch said. Haddow, who was taken to Penobscot County Jail after his arrest, since has been released on bail.
The minor who was at Haddow’s home was charged with burglary to a motor vehicle, receiving stolen property and possession of alcohol by consumption.
Police located the lookout, who also was a juvenile, but have not charged him, Fitch said the lookout was “very cooperative” and told investigators that Sunday was the first time he participated in the spree.
Fitch said that the investigation, which is ongoing, also led to a burglary summons for Scott Jernigan, 18, also of the Old Town area.
Some of the stolen items — including the guitar — have been returned to the rightful owners, Fitch said. In some cases, the owners weren’t aware that the items had been stolen. Police are working to determine the ownership of the rest of the recovered gadgets.
Although Fitch said that Old Town police have beefed up their overnight patrols in an effort to curb the vehicle break-ins, he recommended that residents lock their vehicles, especially overnight, and keep any valuables out of sight.
Residents who come upon a break-in in progress should call 911. Those who believe their belongings might be part of the recovered loot should call the Police Department at 827-3984.