There have been 27 residential burglaries in 30 days in rural York County, and with firearms among the items stolen and resources stretched thin, the York County Sheriff’s Office has asked the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for help.
At least 10 firearms have been stolen in the mostly daytime break-ins. Also taken was ammunition, jewelry, electronics, computers and tools, said Maj. William King of the sheriff’s office.
The sheriff’s office is asking residents to be vigilant and report any signs of suspicious activity.
“If you see a vehicle out of place, call the sheriff’s office,” said King.
He asked residents to try and get a license plate number but to be careful and not put themselves in harm’s way. If someone knocks at the door and then offers what sounds like a made up story about why they’re there, he said, residents should call the sheriff’s office.
“Our concern is that stolen firearms get traded for drugs and (end up) in the hands of gangs in Boston,” said Dale Armstrong, the ATF agent-in-charge in Maine. “That’s what happens to guns in burglaries. Our focus will be to help the sheriff’s office figure out who’s stealing the guns and try to recover them.”
Hardest hit have been homes in Lebanon and Acton, which had six and five burglaries, respectively, said King. There were three burglaries in Alfred. Several other rural communities have been hit as well, though to a lesser extent in the latest spree. Hollis was hit hard with a spate of burglaries late last year.
Waterboro, which uses the services of a contract deputy has been relatively unscathed, he said. Limington has a contract deputy and had one burglary, for which someone has been arrested. Arundel, which has a contract deputy, had two burglaries.
It is unclear whether the burglaries are the work of several people or only a few. King said in general terms, often one arrest will “clear a lot” of burglaries.
Armstrong, of the ATF, said there has been a surge in residential burglaries statewide over the past two years, corresponding with the increase in the use of illegal prescription drugs and drugs such as bath salts.
King said anyone who observes suspicious behavior should call 324-1113.
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