SKOWHEGAN — Burglars broke through three doors, a padlocked gate and cut a hole in a sheetrock wall to get into and rob a downtown rafting and kayak supply business this week.

Josh Farrand and Naomi Poirier, owners of Rafting Randy’s Whitewater Supply in the town’s Renaissance Building on Water Street, said thieves made off with an estimated $4,500 in electronic equipment, rafting gear, an underwater camera, DVDs, CDs, a Play Station console and games, check books and cash.

The break-in was discovered Monday morning, Farrand said, when he noticed the store’s large flat-screen television was missing.

“I went around back and saw they had cut the padlock off the big gate in the back alley,” he said. “Then I noticed the door handles to the double doors to the bathrooms were ripped off again.”

The couple said public restrooms at the center have been vandalized five or six times since they took over the store in January. The building is owned by the Skowhegan Economic Development Corp.

“We kind of just chalked it up to teenagers or kids goofing off and having no respect,” Poirier said. “I don’t think this job was teenagers, though.”

Farrand said he walked into the store and saw “a huge hole” in the wall of the bathroom. Upon further inspection, he saw that the upper and lower deadbolts on three doors in the lobby of the Renaissance Building had been cut and pried open.

“I was just shocked and I said, ‘We’ve been robbed,'” he said. “Then I started looking around the store and started noticing all kinds of other stuff missing. They went through four sets of doors to get to the sheetrock wall, including the big heavy door to the electrical room.”

The couple said they have insurance.

Skowhegan Police Chief Michael Emmons said there are leads in the case and possible suspects, but he would not elaborate.

The burglary isn’t the first in the downtown area in recent weeks. Becky Richardson at the Blueberry Cupboard across the street from the whitewater supply store said someone cut through her front door sometime last Friday.

Both Richardson and the whitewater supply owners said it looked like the burglars used a Sawzall, a reciprocating saw, to cut into the buildings.

Richardson said thieves made off with about $1,200 in silver jewelry.

Brian Pottle, assistant store manager at Aubuchon Hardware, said that store was broken into a couple of weeks ago, but declined to give details. He said items stolen were “enough to make it a felony.”

Jeffrey Hewett, Skowhegan’s director of economic and community development, whose office oversees the Renaissance Building, said the SEDC board was in the process of approving the purchase of surveillance cameras before the burglary.

A regular meeting of the SEDC board Tuesday morning approved spending about $1,000 for the cameras, he said.

Hewett said the scope of the burglary is baffling.

“For what they got out of it and what they had to go through, it seems to me that it doesn’t make a lot of sense,” Hewett said. “To go through a padlock, three sets of doors — they actually had to Sawzall the locks out of those doors — I can’t believe it was that quick of a process.”

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

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