LINCOLN, Maine — The burglary of at least 15 vehicles around town over the last two weeks had police warning residents on Tuesday to lock their cars and trucks.
The thefts, Police Chief William Lawrence said, follow a familiar pattern in Lincoln. The thieves are burglarizing targets of opportunity — unlocked cars and vehicles in search of small change and items that can be pawned or sold for cash.
“I think it’s all about cash for drugs,” Lawrence said Tuesday.
The first 10 burglaries of the series occurred on April 7. The rest continued sporadically since. Almost all of the thefts appear to have occurred at night. The thieves — and police believe there are several — have struck over a wide area, from downtown to the rural sections of Main Street and Lee Road, Lawrence said.
“There is not one geographical location,” Lawrence said. “People are waking up in the mornings and finding that the thefts are occurring from the time when people park their cars in their dooryards or right in their driveways until they get up in the morning.”
Police believe that several thieves are involved because multiple break-ins have occurred at times too close together and at locations too remote to be the work of one person, Lawrence said.
Investigators haven’t determined whether the thieves are working together, he said.
Break-ins targeting unlocked vehicles such as this series are an occasional problem in the Katahdin and Lincoln Lakes regions.
Millinocket police investigated a series in 2007 that occurred over more than a month. Lincoln police handled a similar wave in 2008. An alert police chaplain delivering newspapers foiled a spree of break-ins in Millinocket in 2010. East Millinocket police arrested several suspects in one wave in 2006.
Officer Brandi Alton has at least one suspect in the latest thefts, a juvenile who is suspected of stealing and crashing a vehicle in Enfield about a week ago. Several items believed to have been stolen in town car burglaries were found in the wreckage, Lawrence said.
Anyone who has suffered a vehicle break-in or has information about the break-ins is asked to call police at 794-8455, Lawrence said.