Anthony Knight's property on Patterson Hill Road was the scene of much excitement on Monday and Tuesday. Police from several agencies recovered approximately $200,000 in allegedly stolen property there. Credit: Abigail Curtis / BDN

BELFAST, Maine — One thing garden designer Kate McLeod likes about living on Patterson Hill Road in Belfast is that the nights are quiet.

But quiet is a commodity that’s been hard to come by in recent weeks, as vehicles have sped  up and down the road all night long. McLeod believes the increase in traffic likely is connected to the alleged criminal activity that was happening just down the street, which she learned about on Monday evening.

That’s when police officers from two counties swept through the property of her neighbor Anthony Knight, 56, seizing approximately $200,000 worth of stolen property and drugs. Officers arrested Knight and another Belfast man, Robert Larrabee, 44, on Tuesday and charged them with unauthorized taking, a Class C crime, but police said in a press release that more charges are pending as the investigation continues.

The events were startling to neighbors like McLeod, who said she’s not sure if the first people to arrive at Knight’s home at 85 Patterson Hill Road were, in fact, police officers.

“I see all these guys going by me with what looked like AKs,” she said. “My other neighbor said there were guys from Bucksport coming to recover their stolen merchandise, and they were fully armed.”

Belfast Police Chief Bobby Cormier said that the events of the night are still under investigation.

“It’s fair to say that we received a call of a disturbance. We had information that parties had arrived there in an attempt to retrieve their property. That call led to a search warrant,” he said. “Exactly what happened when they showed up is still under investigation.”

McLeod said that it didn’t take long before police cars started to arrive, and the property was abuzz with activity that lasted all night long. Tow trucks came and pulled out allegedly stolen property including utility trailers, snowmobiles, snowplows and a motor vehicle.

The bust came after a monthslong joint investigation by the Ellsworth Police Department, the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office and the Maine State Police, officials said. Recovered items have been linked to 15 active burglary cases in Hancock, Penobscot and Waldo counties.

“It’s a big case. It’s a large theft case, and police departments don’t get these every day,” Cormier said.

The chief anticipates it may take weeks or even months to return all the stolen property to the rightful owners, and is encouraging anyone who has information about the alleged thefts or who believes that the stolen property might be theirs to contact police.

“This is an opportunity to get a lot of the property back to the victims, to make the victims whole,” he said. “I feel confident that all the departments working together will bring all the suspects to justice and bring closure to the victims. There’s a lot of experienced detectives working on it.”

Linda Roberts, who also lives near Knight’s home on Patterson Hill, said that she hopes the arrests will make a difference in her neighborhood. Roberts, 76, grew up on the hill and remembers when everybody knew everybody else and the community felt like a big extended family.

“As time has grown on and things have changed, an unsavory element seeped in,” she said. “I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all … It’s so hard to see the neighborhood, in my opinion, go downhill like this.”

Police ask that anyone with additional information contact Deputy Chief Troy Bires of the Ellsworth Police Department at 207-667-2168 or Lieutenant Corey Bagley of the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office at 207-667-7575.