LINCOLN, Maine — A man suspected of burglarizing two homes is in custody after a witness reported him pushing a baby carriage full of stolen copper wiring down Town Farm Road earlier this month, Sgt. Glenn Graef said Monday.
Ronald Searles, 26, of Lincoln, was scheduled to appear before a judge at the Penobscot County Judicial Center Monday on a charge of failing to pay fines, an officer at Penobscot County Jail said. Searles had been in jail on a $525 cash bail since Saturday after Lincoln police had arrested him on a warrant for failure to pay the fines out of Androscoggin County. Information was not available Monday about the charges for which Searles was fined.
Graef, Lincoln’s acting police chief, said investigators will seek arrests in the two burglary cases, and in an unrelated home invasion on Enfield Road on June 15, thanks to things that police can always use more of — eyewitness reports.
“Without citizen involvement, these cases would have been very difficult to solve,” Graef said Monday. “In some cases, citizens see something and don’t report it. In these cases, citizens reported suspicious behavior that helped us solve investigations.”
The burglary cases involve foreclosed and vacant houses on Town Farm and Bagley Mountain roads in which an estimated $7,000 worth of copper wiring was stolen, Graef said.
The first burglary was reported at about 6:15 p.m. June 5, when a witness reported a man pushing a baby carriage full of copper wiring along Town Farm Road. Officer John Walsh found a foreclosed and vacant house there that had been burglarized, Graef said.
About $4,000 worth of wiring was stolen, Graef said.
Then, on Friday night, a witness reported a burglary in progress on Bagley Mountain Road at about 7:40 p.m. Detective Mark Fucile and Officer Anthony Redmond got assistance from state police Trooper Barry Meserve and his tracking dog, Zorro, who traced the burglar’s scent along nearby railroad tracks to Sweet Road as Fucile got a description of the burglar, Graef said.
The similarity of the crimes led Fucile to question Searles on Saturday. Searles confessed to the burglaries and Fucile found two backpacks used in one of the burglaries where Searles said he left them, Graef said.
Police will likely seek grand jury indictments against Searles for both burglaries, Graef said.
Graef, meanwhile, will seek charges against a 16-year-old town youth in connection to a home invasion on Enfield Road on June 15 in which a 10-year-old girl suffered minor injuries.
Witnesses said that a young white male wearing a shirt, shorts and sneakers that were all black and who had mud on his legs entered the Enfield Road home and assaulted the girl.
The girl did not require medical treatment, Graef said.
Graef said he canvassed the neighborhood. His work led to him finding witness descriptions, getting the suspect’s name and interviewing the suspect on Thursday. Graef said the boy, a juvenile, confessed to the break-in. Graef will seek charges against him by the end of this week, he said.