SKOWHEGAN — Police on Wednesday arrested a Skowhegan man on burglary and theft charges related to break-ins reported early Monday at two local ice cream shops.
Jerome Schoppee, 37, of 95 Milburn St., was identified in an image from a video surveillance camera at The Ice Cream Shoppe, one of the businesses broken into late Sunday or early Monday, Police Chief Ted Blais said.
Schoppee was arrested just before 11 a.m. Wednesday as he was reporting to his probation officer on North Avenue. Blais said Schoppee tried to run when he saw Detective Josh King, but he was caught and taken to the Somerset County Jail in East Madison.
Schoppee is charged with burglary, theft, possession of burglary tools, criminal mischief and refusing to submit to arrest or detention.
Police with a warrant carried out a search for additional evidence later at Schoppee’s home on Milburn Street, Blais said.
The Ice Cream Shoppe on North Avenue and Island Dairy Treat on Island Avenue, between the Margaret Chase Smith bridges, were targeted, as were the offices of HealthReach Network on North Avenue and LaCasse Shoe Repair on Water Street, downtown.
Windows and glass doors were smashed at each location to gain entry. Nothing appeared to have been stolen. Blais said detectives are working to confirm that all four of the recent break-ins were done by the same person.
About $1,000 worth of damage was done to The Ice Cream Shoppe and to the HealthReach building, which is home to WIC, a nutrition program for women, infants and children.
Blais said there is no evidence that the break-ins are connected to previous burglaries in Skowhegan. Five businesses, including the Morning Sentinel offices, were broken into in December by thieves looking for cash, police said. Merchandise and other items, such as laptop computers, cellphones and cameras that might be difficult to conceal or to sell later, were passed over.
In February, thieves smashed a glass door on the Commercial Street side of Russakoff Jewelers, according to police. Inside the store, burglars smashed glass display cases and made off with as much as $10,000 worth of watches, rings and other jewelry.
Blais said that despite the fact that there are town-owned surveillance cameras in the downtown area, he encourages all business owners to install cameras at their businesses.