Police looking for Belfast cemetery looters and car burglars

Posted Sept. 23, 2010, at 4:09 p.m.

BELFAST, Maine — A recent rash of car burglaries and thefts in Belfast — including thefts of potted plants and memorabilia from graves in the Grove Street Cemetery — are troubling residents and causing the city police chief to ask for help.

“We’d appreciate any help we can get,” Chief Jeffrey Trafton said Thursday afternoon. “We could use more sets of eyes.”

Over the last month, the cemetery superintendent and others have noticed that objects have been disappearing from graves. Those include big, heavy potted plants, solar lights and even some football memorabilia that had been placed at the grave of a football fan.

“It’s just despicable,” Trafton said. “Stealing from someone’s grave — how low can you go?”

He said that should the police catch someone stealing from the cemetery, he will ask the district attorney’s office to “throw the book” at the suspect.

According to the chief, Cemetery Superintendent Steve Boguen believes that the thefts are happening after his crew stops work at 4 p.m. and before dark.

“After dark, it’s easy for cruisers on patrol to spot anybody,” Trafton said.

Another trend that is worrisome to officers is the fact that five car burglaries have been reported in the last 48 hours, according to the chief.

The burglaries are happening in downtown Belfast and surrounding residential streets and so far target only vehicles left unlocked, he said.

Thieves have taken iPods, GPS units and cash, Trafton said.

He urged people to take valuables out of their cars and to leave them locked. While police have identified a person of interest, the matter remains under investigation.

If anyone sees suspicious activity at Grove Street Cemetery or has noticed “somebody walking around being suspicious,” Trafton asks that they call police to let them know.

Tips can be given to the Belfast Police Department from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday at 338-5255 and 338-2420 at all other times.

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