OLD TOWN, Maine — Someone has been breaking into unlocked vehicles all over town, and police are asking residents to report suspicious behavior and to lock their vehicles.
In the 13 hours between 2 a.m. and 3 p.m. Wednesday, Old Town Police Department went to 41 separate calls for burglaries to motor vehicles, and “every one was unlocked,” Old Town police Sgt. Mike Hashey said.
“There were 41 different houses, and some were multiple vehicles,” he said. “We expect more [reports] to come in this evening.”
Five more reports were received Thursday from people who had not checked their cars Wednesday or did not think the matter important enough to call about earlier.
The suspect or suspects grabbed electronics and money left in plain view, Hashey said.
“What we’ve found is that a majority of car burglaries have involved unlocked vehicles or happened when something of value was visible,” he said. “Most of the time if people lock their vehicles and put valuables out of sight,” they are not targeted.
“That’s not a guarantee,” he added.
The calls for help came from residents located all over town.
The burglars hit residents on “Gilman Falls [Avenue] right up to Highland Avenue and over to Lincoln [Street],” Hashey said. “We are following some leads.”
The rash of vehicle burglaries is nothing new to area police, who are asking residents to watch out for one another and to call in anything out of the ordinary.
“Report any suspicious behavior because we’d rather check it out and [find nothing,] than have somebody not call,” Hashey said.
In mid-July, three Old Town residents were charged in their alleged involvement with 90 prior burglaries to motor vehicles that had occurred since the beginning of the year.
Andrew Haddow, 19, 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. A juvenile with him was charged with burglary to a motor vehicle, receiving stolen property and possession of alcohol by consumption. Shortly afterward, Scott Jernigan, 18, was charged with receiving stolen property.
With reports still pending in the Wednesday car burglary spree, the total value of the stolen items remained undetermined, but Hashey estimated it to be “at least a couple thousand [dollars].”
Those with information about any of the vehicle burglaries are asked to call Old Town Police Department at 827-6358.
CORRECTION: This story previously listed an incorrect charge. According to Sgt. Mike Hashey of the Old Town Police Department, Scott Jernigan, 18, has been charged with receiving stolen property.