Three Newport youths charged in crime spree

Posted Feb. 13, 2010, at 4:51 p.m.

NEWPORT, Maine — Three juveniles have been arrested in connection with what police are calling a yearlong spree of burglaries, thefts and criminal mischief.

A search warrant conducted on Jan. 25 recovered numerous items that had been reported stolen from motor vehicles and at least one residential garage, according to Newport police Lt. Randy Wing. Wing declined to say where the search warrant was executed, because it would reveal the identity of at least one of the three juveniles.

The three male juveniles, two age 13 and one age 15, have been charged with nine counts of burglary, three counts of burglary of a motor vehicle, 12 counts of theft and 31 counts of criminal mischief.

Wing said it’s likely more juveniles will be charged. He estimated that in all, the trio caused more than $10,000 in damage all over town. The damage included destruction of personal and town-owned property such as tire slashing, breaking windows, spray-painting graffiti and damaging propane lines on tanks at the Newport Rite Aid on Jan. 9. That incident caused the intersection of Routes 2 and 7 to be shut down for several hours. Wing said the juveniles also are to blame for burglarizing and vandalizing the town’s cultural center.

Earlier this week, Newport police charged two other juveniles and 19-year-old Andrew McLaughlin of Newport with 11 counts of graffiti and one count of criminal mischief. Wing said that case is unconnected with the latest trio to be charged, though the latter juveniles also used gang symbols.

“These guys are clearly responsible for a lot more than the other case we have been investigating,” said Wing. Asked whether the juveniles were profiting somehow from the thefts, Wing said he didn’t think so.

“It’s basically just a poor choice they made of what to do with their time,” he said. “There are no links to drugs, and it’s not like they were making money on this.”

Wing said he is trying to identify the owners of three motor vehicles that were burglarized over the past few months near Muffler King and Motor Supply Co. on Moosehead Trail. Items have been recovered from those burglaries, but the vehicle owners did not file complaints. Wing asked people who have had property stolen or damaged to call Newport Police Department at 368-3263.

“I strongly suggest that citizens report crimes or call the police if they see suspicious activity,” said Wing. “A simple phone call could probably prevent a lot of stuff.”

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