Farmington police are working with Maine State Police to determine whether a store burglary overnight Monday is related to similar burglaries of stores in New Sharon and Rome along the U.S. Route 2-Route 27 corridor the same night.

Sandy River Farm Market in Farmington, Tracy’s Kountry Kitchen and the White Water Farm Market in New Sharon and the Pine Bluff Farm Store in Rome were broken into and burglarized sometime Monday night or Tuesday morning, according to police reports.

Money was taken from the cash register in the Farmington burglary. No information was available Thursday on what was taken in the other three.

The two New Sharon stores are on U.S. Route 2 and Route 27, and Pine Bluff Farm Store is on Route 27 in Belgrade Lakes village, right across the town line from Belgrade in Rome. Those three burglaries are being investigated by Maine State Police and were reported after 6 a.m. Tuesday.

Farmington police Detective Mark Bower said Thursday that is it not yet clear whether the four burglaries are related.

Bower said it was apparent to Sandy River owners Trudy and Eric Johnson “that someone had been in the store” when they arrived there Tuesday morning. They reported the robbery at 9 a.m.

The Johnsons found the cash register on the floor and several bins and boxes had been rifled through. Bower would not disclose how much money was stolen from the market.

He said the burglar might have gotten in through a side window. Police found some evidence at the scene and Bower said the store has a surveillance system that the investigation will try to work from.

No information on the New Sharon and Rome burglaries was immediately available from state police Thursday, though Bower confirmed that state police are investigating.

A woman who works at the Sandy River market, who didn’t want to identify herself, said it’s disheartening that people target local markets.

“(The Johnsons) do so much for the community,” she said. “They’ve been struggling so hard, and now this stupid thing.”

She speculated that the burglaries were “by the same group” and they’re targeting local stores because the stores don’t have high-tech security systems.

Police are asking anyone with information about the burglaries to contact authorities.

Lauren Abbate — 861-9252

[email protected]

Twitter: @Lauren_M_Abbate

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