Police in Fairfield have joined forces with authorities in Skowhegan and with the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office to investigate a series of motor vehicle burglaries in a wide area of Fairfield, Skowhegan and Norridgewock.

Fairfield police Chief Tom Gould said there were 13 reported car burglaries Monday in that town and 40 since June. Car burglaries in Skowhegan continued to be reported Tuesday from the area of Bigelow Hill Road. The burglaries involve both unlocked and locked vehicles.

So far there are no suspects, but police say residents are keeping their eyes open for suspicious activity in their neighborhoods. The hardest-hit area in Fairfield has been Six Rod Road and Center Road.

Motor vehicle burglaries involving the theft mostly of loose change and available cash also were reported on Martin Stream Road, Jodie Avenue, Skat Street and Norridgewock Road in Fairfield. Car break-ins also were reported on Burrill Hill Road in Skowhegan and on Waterville Road and Martin Stream Road in Norridgewock

Gould said it appears all the burglaries are related and involve people either on foot or on bicycles.

“I have no idea why they’re all happening. I’d like to think it’s because school was out, but it’s not necessarily by someone that is that young,” he said. “They’re covering a lot of ground. There were probably four or five miles’ worth of burglaries on a path that they walked. I don’t believe a car was involved.”

Gould and patrol officer Patrick Mank said the cars’ contents were rifled through and handbags, pocketbooks or wallets were cleaned out and tossed to the roadside. He said most of the burglaries are criminal misdemeanors, but as many as 10 of them are felony crimes because there was forced entry into the cars.

Gould stressed to area residents to park near streetlights, driveway monitors or installed motion lights whenever possible and to lock their cars at night.

“Ninety percent of the time these guys do this in the dark, and if you have a well-lit area where your vehicle is parked, they’re probably not going to bother it,” he said. “And don’t assume that because your car has been hit once they won’t be back.

“And lock your car. It’s a crime of opportunity. If they find the door unlocked, it takes just seconds for them to reach in and grab a handful of change.”

Gould advised residents to notice when dogs are barking outside at night and make sure they call police if they see anything suspicious.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter: @Doug_Harlow

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