Police charge man in connection with 20 local burglaries

Recreation equipment, landscaping tools and more recovered from Belfast home
By Ethan Andrews | Feb 07, 2018
Photo by: Ethan Andrews Belfast Police Sgt. John Gibbs stands in the police station garage Feb. 5 with items recovered from the home of a man charged with a string of burglaries last summer.

Belfast — Police believe they have apprehended the man responsible for 20 burglaries spanning three towns.

Peter McCaffrey, 46, of Belfast, was charged with receiving stolen goods and violating conditions of release after police searched his Lincolnville Avenue residence and recovered items linked to 15 burglaries of homes and job sites in Belfast, four in Northport and one in Searsport dating to late summer 2017.

Sgt. John Gibbs of Belfast Police Department said clues from recent Northport burglaries along with a tip from someone who snapped a photo of an expensive fat-tire bike in the back of a car led police to McCaffrey's residence.

Police searched the property and found kayaks with the serial numbers sanded off, power tools, a stereo and other items that had not been reported missing but appeared to be part of the haul. Gibbs uploaded photos to Facebook during the search asking if anyone could identify them.

"I'd never done that before," he said. "We were bringing the public's eye into this search."

What they didn't find was the bike that had led them to the house. After getting another warrant, they discovered a small basement that they had overlooked the first time. Gibbs said the bike — a distinctive composite-framed cycle with fat tires — was there, along with other bikes and stolen goods.

Items recovered from McCaffrey's house included a refrigerator and oven that went missing from a Habitat for Humanity house job site in Searsport. Gibbs said McCaffrey was using the refrigerator, but the oven was found sitting in the snow outside the house.

A 10-foot paddle board and a set of truck tires were among a handful of items reported stolen last year that did not turn up in searches of McCaffrey's home.

Gibbs credited the work of Belfast Police Detective Gerald Lincoln, who ultimately obtained four search warrants for McCaffrey's home, and Officer Dale Brown, who investigated recent burglaries in Northport that were linked to McCaffrey.

McCaffrey was convicted of a string of eight burglaries in Bangor in 2009 and served time at Maine Correctional Center before being transferred to Maine Coastal Regional Reentry Center in Belfast in late 2014. He was released in April 2015 and worked for the city's Parks and Recreation Department in 2016 and 2017.

Gibbs said the initial burglaries late last summer included several leaf blowers, weed whackers, chainsaws and a rototiller. While trying to put together a profile of the burglar, he considered that the person might be looking to start a landscaping business.

Parks Director Norman Poirier said McCaffrey did seasonal lawn and landscaping work with the city and left in July 2017 to take a job with a landscaper outside Belfast.

Waldo County's Corrections Administrator Raymond Porter said Reentry Center residents are chosen from nonviolent offenders deemed to be a high risk for re-offending.

However, despite taking on people who are more likely to end up back in jail, Porter said a study of the first five years of the program, which launched in 2010, found recidivism rates of roughly 30 percent for graduates of the program, compared to almost 70 percent nationwide.

"It's shown that it's actually working," he said. "We have basically 70 percent that don't return."

Porter said McCaffrey appears to have been one of the exceptions.

"He's one of our 30 percent," he said. "We're not perfect."

 

 

Comments (2)
Posted by: THEODORE AND PATRICIA REED | Feb 07, 2018 17:56

Good job



Posted by: Harold Richardson | Feb 07, 2018 10:59

Good Job-Belfast PD-you do not get paid enough.  My home was broken into twice and stuff taken out of my truck at nite too.  I believe we need a couple more patrolmen in Belfast-esp at nite in the warmer weather.



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