Police busy with stolen car and cemetery vandalism in Belfast over the weekend

Posted May 16, 2011, at 3:11 p.m.

BELFAST, Maine — A vehicle that was reported stolen Saturday from a Congress Street residence was located later that day in a neighboring town — but it was much the worse for wear.

Belfast police said Monday that a group of turkey hunters found the green 1996 Jeep Cherokee off Sandy Ridge Lane in Searsport and reported it to authorities because it was missing its license plates, a Belfast Police Department spokesman said.

The drivers’ side rear window had been smashed in, apparently with a $700 camera tripod that had been left inside the vehicle. The tires were shredded, it had been driven over a large rock, and the windshield had been broken, according to the police report.

Police speculate that the windshield might have cracked after someone’s head struck it. They also suggested that it’s possible the Jeep may have been stolen in order to sell it for scrap metal, as has been the case in a couple of recent incidents.

The incident remains under investigation. (Abigail Curtis, BDN)

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BELFAST, Maine — Vandals knocked over 11 headstones sometime last weekend in Grove Cemetery off Belmont Avenue, and police are asking for the public’s help to track down the people responsible.

Eight headstones from the 1969 section of the graveyard were found toppled over Saturday by cemetery superintendent Steve Boguen, according to a report from the Belfast Police Department. Later that day, he found three more overturned headstones from the graveyard’s 1898 section.

Two broken beer bottles also were found on a mausoleum, Boguen said.

“It looks like they stood up on top and smashed bottles,” he said.

Boguen estimated that it would cost at least $600 to reset the headstones. He already has had eight of them fixed.

“I hate to have families come in here and see that sort of thing,” he said.

Cemetery officials suspect that teenagers may be the culprits.

“We tend to guess kids,” Boguen said. “Especially if they have a function at the high school at the same time.”

Belfast Area High School is located close to the cemetery.

Although this kind of cemetery vandalism is fairly rare in Belfast, it is much more common that cemetery staff discovers stolen flowers and solar lamps, especially around Memorial Day, he said.

Boguen said he may consider video surveillance in the future.

Anyone who noticed suspicious activity that likely happened in the area sometime Friday night is asked to call the Belfast Police Department at 338-5255 or Boguen at 338-2264. (Abigail Curtis, BDN)

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