Unlocked cars targeted in string of burglaries; E. Millinocket police arrest half-dozen suspects

This story was published on May 20, 2006 on Page C12 in all editions of the Bangor Daily News

EAST MILLINOCKET – When burglars went on a crime spree earlier this month, breaking into at least 18 vehicles and stealing about $3,000 worth of goods and cash, they got all the help they needed from their victims, police said Friday.

The vehicles were unlocked.

“It’s a thing of society now,” Police Chief Garold Cramp said Friday. “Even in East Millinocket, everything needs to be locked up, which is sad, because they never locked their cars and a lot of people never even rolled up their windows.

“They have just jumped out and ran from their vehicles for years, and these people [the suspects] apparently decided to take advantage of the situation,” Cramp added.

Police expect to seek grand jury indictments for two adults and juvenile court charges for four 16- or 17-year-old boys within the next few weeks, Cramp said. They will be charged with 18 counts each of burglary from a motor vehicle.

The adults’ names were not released because they have yet to be charged.

Another burglary charge will be added, as information gleaned from this investigation led police to a house burglary earlier this month in which money was stolen, Cramp said.

The vehicle break-ins occurred overnight on May 9 in locations all over town, including Pine, Park and Spring streets and Western Avenue, Cramp said. With the vehicles unlocked, the suspects didn’t have to do much damage to the cars, although a few stereos were ripped from dashboards.

Once in the vehicles, the suspects stole whatever they could, including golf shoes, loose change and cash, binoculars, snowshoes and cameras, Cramp said.

“There was really no rhyme or reason to what they were taking,” he said.

A collection of tips, some trace evidence and legwork, mostly interviews, allowed the primary investigators, Officers Andy York and David Cram, to begin hauling in suspects for questioning late Wednesday afternoon and into Thursday, Cramp said.

“The guys did a really good job,” Cramp said. “It’s not easy to solve 18 burglaries in a week.”

The investigation left officers with items they cannot account for within the 18 burglaries, so anyone in town or a nearby community who might have been victimized in a burglary on or about May 9 is asked to call police at 746-3555. All calls will be kept confidential, Cramp said.