WATERVILLE — Police are investigating thefts from more than a dozen cars in an east Waterville neighborhood that occurred over the weekend.

The break-in spree apparently ended with the theft of a Chevy Suburban from a home on Oak Street. The sport utility vehicle was driven less than half a mile before it was crashed into a fence and a tree at 4 May St., according to Deputy Police Chief Charles Rumsey.

The recent break-ins come close on the heels of recent reports of car burglaries in Fairfield, Norridgewock and Skowhegan, but Rumsey said police don’t know if the Waterville break-ins are connected.

Police were called to the scene of the crash at 3:44 a.m. The driver had fled the scene and officers called a Maine State Police K-9 unit that tracked him to Ticonic Street, but then lost the trace.

In the course of searching for the thief, officers noticed that doors of vehicles were open and dome lights on. Altogether, officers found 14 other vehicles in the area that were broken into. The thefts were found on High, Main, Oak, Ticonic, Toward and Alden streets, Rumsey said. The investigation is open and active.

The burglars were apparently looking for anything easy and available to take, he said. Stolen items included GPS units, an EZ-Pass, X-M Radio and tobacco.

Most of the vehicles were parked in driveways and none were locked, Rumsey said. The keys to the Suburban were believed to be in the car when it was stolen, he added.

A week ago, Fairfield Police Chief Tom Gould said there had been 13 motor vehicle burglaries on Aug. 3 alone, and there had be 40 break-ins in that town in the past two months. Seven burglaries were reported in Fairfield in June.

Last Wednesday, Fairfield Detective Sgt. Paul St. Amand reported seeing a person break into a vehicle on Martin Stream Road in Fairfield early in the morning, but a canine track of the area failed.

Police are encouraging people to lock their cars to prevent theft.

“If we can offer one bit of advice, it is keep valuables out of sight and lock your doors,” Rumsey said.

Thieves will be less likely to break a window to get to valuables because it draws attention, while checking to see if a car is unlocked is simple, quiet and easy.

“Locking vehicles is key to preventing the vast majority of crimes,” Rumsey said.

Anyone with information about the case is encouraged to call the Waterville police at 680-4700.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.