LINCOLN, Maine — Video surveillance might be the key to stopping a burglary ring that has hit Lincoln Lakes region businesses 16 times since mid-July, police said Tuesday.
Investigators await surveillance recordings from a local business and forensic test results from the Maine State Police Crime Laboratory in Augusta as they continue to probe what has been a very difficult crime wave to stop, said Dan Summers, Lincoln public safety director.
One major reason: The ring, which has as many as a dozen members, has monitored police communications and posted lookouts at several of the burglaries, Summers said. Penobscot Regional Communication Center radio transmissions were inadvertently tipping off the burglars as to where police were and whether they knew about break-ins as they were occurring.
“We have had to change things up a bit to keep that from happening,” Summers said Tuesday. “I am confident that the crime lab will show us who is responsible [for the burglaries] through the DNA test results.”
Mainely Rent to Own, F.A. Peabody Co. and U.S. Cellular are among the businesses on West Broadway in Lincoln and in Chester, Lee, Mattawamkeag and Winn that have been burglarized since mid-July. The last break-in occurred on Aug. 25.
Summers’ disclosure of the monitoring of police movements adds a layer of complexity to burglaries that so far have been described as simple smash-and-grabs where cash register money and miscellaneous valuables were stolen for quick conversion into drugs.
State police, Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department and Lincoln police officers formed a task force last month that met Tuesday to discuss case progress, Summers said.
One of the investigators involved, Detective Mark Fucile, said that as soon as he gets a chance, he plans to take new evidence from several suspects or persons of interest to the lab for comparison with that taken from the crime scenes.
Lab workers have been attentive to the task force’s needs despite their heavy caseload, Fucile said.