MACHIAS, Maine — Police Chief Grady Dwelley is warning residents to secure their property, especially purses and gym bags, while he investigates a rash of thefts.
Over the past two weeks, two people have been arrested in one case, and police are investigating two other felony thefts, including one of more than $5,000 from a local business, Dwelley said.
Dwelley said the thieves mostly are looking for cash and credit cards. On Monday, Jan. 24, Amber Thistlewood, 26, and Donald Cutts, 34, both of Machias were arrested and charged with stealing a patient’s purse while she was being treated at the emergency department of Down East Community Hospital.
Dwelley said that before they were arrested, the pair successfully passed the credit cards at area businesses. The amount put on the cards is being determined by the investigating officer, Darrel Hinerman, Dwelley said, but he called it substantial.
“In the past 14 days, we have had a rash of credit card and purse thefts from various places where people leave their belongings,” Dwelley said. “Whether it is at the hospital, businesses, cars, athletic areas, people really need to secure their property.”
Dwelley said an inexpensive lock often can deter a gym bag thief. “They may not stop a persistent thief, but it can make it harder,” he said. “They are looking for a fast hit, an easy target.”
Anyone with any information about such thefts is urged to call the Machias Police Department at 255-8558.