LINCOLN, Maine — Prosecutors are reviewing police work that investigators hope will lead to at least two suspects charged within the next month with as many as 19 town burglaries, the town’s public safety director said Thursday.
Penobscot County District Attorney’s Office workers will determine whether and how many charges should be sought against the suspects. Such reviews typically take three or four weeks. If they approve arrest warrants, the warrants could be sought and served almost immediately afterwards, Public Safety Director Dan Summers said.
Lincoln police, who have been investigating the burglaries with state police and the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department since the spree began in June, don’t mind the wait, especially if solid cases result, Summers said.
“We don’t want to rush things and make premature arrests,” Summers said Thursday. “Time is always on our side. You can always make an arrest, but if you have a good solid investigation because you were patient and took time, you are better off.”
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 reported break-in occurred at Shooters, a pool hall, bar and restaurant on West Broadway, about three weeks ago. Around $2,000 was reported stolen after burglars forced a back door, Summers said.
The Lincoln Lakes region has been subject to burglary sprees before, but this series has been a very difficult crime wave to stop, so much so that the sheriff’s office, state police and Lincoln investigators formed a task force to combat it, police have said.
Close to a dozen other burglaries beyond the 19 have been reported in outlying towns, Summers said.
The ring, which has as many as a dozen members, has monitored police communications and posted lookouts at several of the burglaries, Summers noted. 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.
Local businesses continue to respond well to the thefts, Summers said. Several keep their shops well-lit at night and windows clear. Business owners respond quickly to their stores when police find open windows or other errors that could lead to more theft.
Police have stepped up patrols, door checks and continue to encourage anyone with information about the thefts to call 794-8455.