LINCOLN, Maine — Burglars caused at least $3,500 in damage to a pool hall and restaurant early Monday when they broke through a back door and destroyed an ATM during the 20th reported break-in at a town business since mid-July, police said Tuesday.
“It’s frustrating to us, and I imagine it is frustrating to citizens out there,” said Lincoln Public Safety Director Dan Summers. “I can tell you that the officers have done everything they can do to get arrests.”
Prosecutors are reviewing police work that investigators hope will lead to the arrest of at least two of the dozen suspects involved in the burglary ring, Summers has said.
Shooters, Mainely Rent to Own, F.A. Peabody Co., Lincoln News, Capello Hair Salon and Day Spa, Avanti Bridal and Boutique, Benjamin Tibbetts Inc., North Country Auto and U.S. Cellular are among the businesses on West Broadway in Lincoln hit since July. Another dozen burglaries have been reported in Chester, Lee, Mattawamkeag and Winn, Summers has said.
Passersby reported that at about 5:15 a.m. on Monday that they saw a broken rear door at Shooters, a pool hall, bar and restaurant on West Broadway. The destroyed ATM was worth about $3,500. The burglars left a broken hammer, Summers said. No cash from the machine was taken.
Police collected evidence and took DNA swabs from the mouths of two suspects for forensic examination, Summers said. The burglary was the second at Shooters since the spree began. The previous burglary happened at Shooters about three weeks ago. Around $2,000 was reported stolen in the previous burglary, Summers said.
“We believe it is [all done by] the same crew,” Summers said.
Police suspect that the burglars are drug addicts or have recently been released from prison. The burglaries are simple smash-and-grabs, with cash taken from cash registers and safes stolen, police have said.
About $50 to $1,900 cash has been taken from each burglary. Property damage has included doors, windows and furniture, police said. A total estimate on the cash taken or damage repair costs was not available on Tuesday.
Among the reasons the ring hasn’t been caught, Summer said: The suspects have monitored police communications and posted lookouts at several of the burglaries to monitor police movements. Police have also been handling other cases, as have evidence technicians at the state police crime lab who are comparing evidence taken from the scenes to evidence supplied by suspects.
Detective Mark Fucile said he is handling four or five child-welfare cases and several more domestic violence cases this week. Those cases take priority over the burglaries because they involve greater threats to life, Summers said.
“As soon as we get [burglary arrest] warrants, we will be out there,” Summers said.