AUGUSTA — Police have arrested several people in separate strings of Kennebec County burglaries, saying one of them was linked to approximately 30 burglaries since March.

Michael Joseph Gagne, 38, of Augusta, was arrested Tuesday on a probation hold after police from Augusta, Winthrop, Monmouth and the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office conducted searches across the region, said Deputy Chief Jared Mills, of the Augusta Police Department, in a news release. He said investigators have found that approximately 30 burglaries in the area since last month were connected, and other suspects have been identified and more charges are likely.

Also, Jed St. Hilaire, 36, of Winthrop, was arrested on a probation hold Monday and later charged with five counts of burglary after break-ins earlier this month at five businesses, including Peppers Garden & Grill and China Empress, said Detective Pete Struck, of the Winthrop Police Department. He said St. Hilaire is believed to have acted alone in the burglaries, which happened in one night.

In the larger string, Mills said that Augusta police have investigated seven of those burglaries over that time period. Earlier this month, he said officers just missed capturing burglars while one was in progress. Mills said police have identified suspects in that case and will “continue to work hard putting these cases together so that all responsible can be taken into custody and formally charged.”

In an interview, Mills said a recent burglary at Twins Country Store on North Belfast Avenue is linked to the ring, but he didn’t disclose others pending notification to those businesses. Struck said that one of the linked burglaries was in Winthrop.

Deputy Chief Ryan Reardon, of the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office, said, “We’re still in the infancy of this,” saying it would be premature to disclose all towns affected by burglaries until police have a chance to fully discuss them with Gagne.

“We’re still tracking some of that down, including the when, what, where, why, how,” Reardon said.

Gagne was being held at the Kennebec County jail on Wednesday ahead of an initial court hearing, Mills said. He hasn’t yet been charged with the burglaries. Struck said St. Hilaire is at the jail being held without bail.

In 2013, St. Hilaire pleaded guilty to purse snatchings at a Hannaford supermarket and Walmart in Augusta. He later told police that he took cash from purses and used it to buy drugs, according to court documents. He was given an eight-year sentence for robbery and other crimes with all but 30 months suspended and four years probation.

Michael Shepherd — 370-7652

[email protected]

Twitter: @mikeshepherdme

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