The discovery of two teenagers handcuffed together behind a convenience store helped Lisbon police solve a series of motor vehicle break-ins in a residential neighborhood this month.

Officer Ellen Stewart found the boys on May 10 after she was called to Miller’s Variety and Convenience Store in Lisbon Falls to investigate a report of a suspicious vehicle, according to news release from the police department.

Stewart discovered a pickup truck disabled at the fuel pumps and located the boys behind the store. They were handcuffed together.

During the department’s investigation, police determined the handcuffs had been stolen during the motor vehicle burglary spree, which took place overnight on May 9-10. Police said between 40 and 50 unlocked cars were broken into by the boys in the Plummer, Pleasant and Center streets neighborhood of Lisbon Falls. All of the cars had been parked in residents’ driveways.

“A reminder that keeping your vehicles locked with valuable items out of sight even while parked overnight in your own driveway can be for the most part the greatest deterrent to becoming a victim of this type of crime,” Lisbon police said in a news release posted Tuesday on their Facebook page.

Police found a number of stolen items in the boys’ possession at Miller’s Variety while other items had been discarded in an area near the store. Most of the stolen items were loose change, knives, flashlights and GPS units. The disabled pickup truck had been taken by the boys from a friend without permission, but charges are not expected to be filed in that case.

Lisbon police said there is no connection between the Lisbon Falls car break-ins and the Felony Lane Gang, a loosely organized gang that recruits local people to break into cars and steal personal information and valuables.

Sgt. Ryan McGee said police do not know why the boys had handcuffed themselves together other than they were just playing around with the stolen cuffs. McGee said the investigation is continuing.

Charges are pending against the teenagers, who have not yet made an appearance in Lewiston Unified Court.

Police would like to hear from anyone whose vehicle was broken into, as several stolen times have been recovered by officers. Victims should contact the Lisbon Police Department at 353-2500.

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