THOMASTON, Maine — Local police say an alert owner of a recycling business helped lead to a suspect in many unsolved metal thefts from around the county.
One man has been charged as a result of the investigation by the Thomaston Police Department and which has extended to other local police agencies.
Neal Kenney IV, 33, of Rockland was charged with theft of automobile parts from Rockland Ford in Thomaston on Thursday, according to Thomaston Police Chief Kevin Haj.
Subsequent investigations have tied Kenney to theft of metal items from four locations in Thomaston, at least one in Rockland, and possibly several others throughout the county. The Knox County Sheriff’s Office and Rockland Police Department also have been involved in the investigation, Haj said.
The department received a break in the case when Scott Johnson contacted Thomaston police after Kenney brought in a load of what the suspect had called scrap metal. Johnson told police, however, that he became suspicious when he noticed the load included items that looked new. When Thomaston police arrived and questioned Kenney, he initially said he had gotten the items from his grandmother’s barn. One of the items was a new looking chain saw. Kenney told the officer that the chain saw did not work and he was scrapping it, but the officer was able to get it started immediately.
Kenney finally admitted he had taken the items from various locations and was charged with the thefts at Rockland Ford. The police chief said Kenney also admitted to a theft at Jeff’s Marine in which a gate had been crashed through by a vehicle and metal items removed. Kenney’s vehicle had front-end damage, police reported.
Kenney has been cooperative but the department has been unable to determine the owner of a metal sculpture that is either a deer or a moose. Haj said the name “Preston” is welded on the sculpture. The department also does not know who the owner of two metal saw horses are, the chief said.
Haj said some people may not know yet that they have been victims of theft. He said people can call the department at 354-2511.