ELLSWORTH, Maine — Police from three Maine cities are now working to determine who is behind a series of window-smashing incidents at local businesses that have resulted in tens of thousands of dollars in damage.
Last week, Bangor and Brewer police fielded complaints from several businesses where windows had been smashed.
On Tuesday, Ellsworth police confirmed that businesses there reported similar incidents.
Police from all three communities say that the incidents — which occurred on Tuesday through last weekend — could be connected. They also said that it does not appear that anything was taken from the vandalized businesses.
The window vandalism spree began in Bangor on Tuesday night and Wednesday night of last week, when a vandal or vandals used rocks to break windows at several businesses in the Bangor Mall area, causing well over $20,000 in damage.
The businesses hit were Wendy’s, Uno’s Chicago Grill, Applebee’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill and Bangor Mall Cinema 10, according to Bangor police Sgt. Paul Edwards.
Early Friday morning, rocks were thrown through store windows at McDonald’s, Dairy Queen, Pizza Hut, all on Wilson Street in Brewer, resulting in several more thousands in damage, Brewer police Capt. Jason Moffitt said last week. The person or people responsible also used rocks to smash the windows of a vehicle parked behind a nearby business, Moffitt said.
Based on video surveillance and accounts of an eyewitness, Brewer police determined that one of the businesses was hit around 3:40 a.m. He said a person could be seen in one of the videos.
On Tuesday, Detective Sgt. Jay Munson said that whoever was involved in the Wilson Street spree left behind evidence that could prove useful to police and prosecutors — DNA contained in blood from a cut that likely resulted from broken glass.
The rash of window smashings in Ellsworth occurred from late Friday night or early Saturday morning through Saturday night, Ellsworth police Lt. Harold Page said Tuesday. All of the affected properties are on High Street, near the Maine Coast Mall.
The KFC restaurant was first to be struck, when windows were broken late Friday night or early Saturday morning, Page said. The next night, windows were smashed at Friendly’s, Walgreens, the former Darling’s building and at the Ramada Inn, where a rock thrown through a window landed in an occupied guest room, Page said.
“It scared the [heck] out of the people,” Page said.
Page said alarms went off when windows were smashed at the Ramada Inn, KFC and Walgreens and that police have obtained an image of the suspect from video recorded at KFC and Walgreens.
The description of the Ellsworth suspect matches that of the person police think may be responsible for the vandalism in Bangor and Brewer, according to Page. He said police from the three cities are working together to enhance the video images they have in order to get a clearer image of the suspected vandal.
Ellsworth police plan to post some of the images on the department’s Facebook page in order to get feedback from the public about who it might be, he said.
He estimated the damage to the windows, many of which were thermally insulated and had double panes, will cost several thousand dollars to fix.
“You’re talking 15 to 20 grand by the time you get done,” Page said. “It’s pretty expensive stuff.”