Police tell locals to 'be vigilant' in wake of downtown break-insSome homes were occupied when burglaries occurred
Belfast — Police are growing concerned about the safety of downtown residents after a series of overnight break-ins reported Thursday, Nov. 8, and Friday, Nov. 9, some of which occurred while residents were at home and asleep.
"This situation is so dangerous, we have to make sure people are aware of what's going on and how to handle the situation if confronted with this issue," said Belfast Police Chief Mike McFadden.
McFadden said the Friday night break-ins involved four homes in the downtown area, and in some of those cases the residents were home and sleeping when the intruders gained entry.
McFadden did not release whether items were missing from either of the four homes, nor did he release the specific location of those residences.
Those burglaries were in addition to a pair of break-ins and two attempted burglaries that occurred sometime during the early morning hours of Thursday, Nov. 8.
Belfast Detective Sgt. Bryan Cunningham said the Thursday night break-ins occurred at two residences on Ocean Street, and the alleged burglars also attempted to gain entry at a third Ocean Street home, but were unsuccessful. Cunningham said a fourth home on Mayo Street also showed signs that the alleged burglars tried to enter, but were unable to do so.
"In one case a woman was home," said Cunningham. "They opened up the bedroom door and shined a flashlight on her, and she told them to get out."
Fortunately, Cunningham said, the alleged burglars took her advice and left her home, and the woman told police she does not believe anything is missing.
That incident occurred at about 2 a.m. Thursday, Cunningham said, but the woman did not have access to a phone in her bedroom, so she barricaded herself in there until daylight. As soon as she exited her room, Cunningham said, she called police.
Cunningham said the alleged burglars were able to obtain some undisclosed items from the second home they entered on Ocean Street.
When police arrived at the residences, particularly that of the woman who caught the alleged burglars in her home, Cunningham said, officers found footprints in the snow that suggested there may be two people responsible for the break-ins.
At the home where there were items missing, Cunningham said, police located a cigarette butt in the toilet, which will be sent to the state crime lab in Augusta for DNA testing.
McFadden advised all residents to lock doors and windows, and asked that downtown residents keep outside lights on during the night to increase visibility.
For those who wake to find intruders in their home, McFadden advised locals against giving chase and instead suggested they call police immediately.
Anytime you hear something, your dog is barking, and that's unusual, give us a call," said McFadden. "If you hear a noise and it's unusual, give us a call. I'd rather respond to 25 raccoons tipping over a trash barrel than miss the opportunity to catch these guys in the act."
The case remains under investigation. Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact police at 338-2420.