ELLSWORTH, Maine — The Ellsworth Police Department has posted on its Facebook page grainy footage from a video surveillance camera showing a man throwing something at the Walgreens store there last weekend. Police hope that someone will recognize the man, who is a suspect in a window-smashing spree that has caused tens of thousands of dollars in damage to restaurants and other businesses in Bangor, Brewer and Ellsworth.
In the video, an unidentified man walks away from the camera. When he is almost out of sight, he throws an object at Walgreens and turns and walks back toward the camera.
Brewer police Capt. Jason Moffitt said Thursday that the description and methods of the vandal in the Brewer and Bangor cases are the same as those of the perpetrator in Hancock County.
“We think there is a pretty strong possibility that they are linked to Ellsworth,” Moffitt said.
Police are looking for a white male who is about 6 feet tall, he said.
The vandalism spree began in Bangor on Tuesday and Wednesday nights of last week, when rocks were used to break windows at several businesses in the Bangor Mall area, causing well over $20,000 in damage. The monetary damage in Ellsworth has been estimated to be the same.
The businesses hit in Bangor were Wendy’s, Uno Chicago Grill, Applebee’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill and Bangor Mall Cinema 10, according to Bangor police Sgt. Paul Edwards.
Then early last Friday morning, rocks were thrown through store windows at McDonald’s, Dairy Queen and Pizza Hut, all on Wilson Street in Brewer, resulting in more than $7,000 in damage, Moffitt said last week. The window of a car parked behind a local business also was smashed, he said.
Brewer also has video surveillance footage and Detective Jay Munson is working to get a clearer image, Moffitt said.
DNA contained in blood from a cut that likely resulted from broken glass also was collected in the Wilson Street crime spree, Munson said this week.
The rash of window smashings in Ellsworth on High Street began late Friday night or early Saturday morning and ran through Saturday night, Ellsworth police Lt. Harold Page has said.
KFC, Friendly’s, Walgreens, the former Darling’s building and a rented room at the Ramada Inn were hit, the lieutenant said.
Page said Thursday that police have photos taken Monday by a surveillance camera at the new Darling’s auto dealership on Route 3 of someone who looks like the same person in the Walgreens video. Employees there went through their surveillance footage and later noticed the similarities between the figures in the recorded images at the two businesses, after they found damage to one of their vehicles Wednesday morning, Page said.
The man in the photos, who appears to be in his 40s, was acting strangely and smelled bad when he was inside the dealership on Monday, according to Page. On Wednesday morning, employees discovered someone had gotten inside a GMC Acadia sport utility vehicle on the lot and cut out pieces of seat upholstery and broken off other interior features. Everything that was cut or broken off was left in a small pile on top of the vehicle’s central console, Page said.
Page said damage to the GMC SUV is estimated at $3,000 to $4,000.
“He’s somebody we want to talk to” about all of the reported vandalism, Page said. “He’s not a teenager. We’re already getting calls about him.”
It does not appear that anything was taken from the vandalized businesses. Repair costs easily reached the $2,000 threshold for felony criminal mischief, Bangor police Detective Cliff Worcester said Thursday. The damage in Bangor alone could reach the $30,000 mark, but a final figure was not yet available because “a couple of businesses don’t have them fixed yet,” the detective said.
Those who recognize the man in the video or who have information about the crime spree can contact the Ellsworth Police Department at 667-2168, Brewer Police Department at 989-7003 or Bangor Police Department at 947-7382.
BDN writer Dawn Gagnon contributed to this report.