LINCOLN, Maine — Police are awaiting forensic test results that they hope will help them crack a burglary ring of three to 10 suspects who have allegedly targeted businesses in four towns recently, Town Manager William Lawrence said Friday.
The burglaries, which occurred over the last three weeks, have been nagging police but, “We know who our suspects are,” said Lawrence, the town’s former police chief and an officer with several decades of experience.
“It is all drug related. They need the cash for drugs, so the PD knows exactly what is going on,” he added.
The crimes followed an unsophisticated pattern, Lawrence noted as the burglars smashed windows or doors and robbed cash registers of money at several businesses, usually late after the businesses closed or prior to their morning openings.
“Most of these people are transients,” Lawrence said of the alleged suspects, many of whom are recent releases from prison. “People don’t generally change their behavior, especially when they are starting that behavior as juveniles or young adults.”
Lincoln police formed a task force with state police and the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department to investigate the eight burglaries, Lawrence said.
Lincoln police Detective Mark Fucile has taken fingerprint, footprint and DNA evidence from several suspects that the Maine State Police Crime Laboratory in Augusta is comparing to evidence Fucile and Trooper David Yankowski retrieved from crime scenes, Lawrence said.
In what is likely the most recent set of burglaries, Mainely Rent to Own at 157 West Broadway was burglarized on Monday. The suspects broke in through a window. Insurance company, F.A. Peabody Co., and a U.S. Cellular store, both across the street from Rent to Own, were also burglarized the same day, police said.
The amount of cash stolen ranges from $200 to $900, Lawrence said.
State Trooper Thomas Fiske made one arrest in connection with an out-of-town burglary. Fiske did not return telephone messages left Friday afternoon.
As part of their increased enforcement efforts, Lincoln police have expanded their nightly business door- and window checks, Lawrence said.
Anyone with information about the burglaries is asked to call police at 794-8455. All calls will be kept confidential.