Portland police arrested a city man following an attempted break-in early Wednesday and say he may be charged with other recent burglaries of businesses in and around the downtown.

Tim Toun Photo courtesy of Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office

Tim Toun, a 30-year-old Valley Street resident, was arrested before dawn by officers responding to an attempted break-in at the Maine Historical Society on Congress Street. The organization has a gift shop adjacent to its museum and library.

Toun is charged with criminal mischief and criminal attempt, along with a warrant from previous theft cases, Lt. Robert Martin said. Police have not yet filed charges in connection with a string of more than a dozen commercial burglaries on the Portland peninsula since July 28, but investigators have developed probable cause and anticipate charging Toun in connection with some of the cases, Martin said.

“We have a person in custody for a warrant and we’re working on charges in connection with the burglaries,” Martin said, in response to questions about Toun.

Police went to the historical society at 489 Congress St. about 2:46 a.m., after someone reported hearing glass breaking. Police found that a glass door’s outer window pane was broken, but the inner pane was intact and no one was able to enter the building, Martin said.

Police found Toun in the area of Preble Street with another person, who was not charged. Toun was being held on $1,500 cash bail, and could make his first court appearance Thursday or Friday.

Police have stepped up patrols as they investigate the burglary of 15 businesses – including the historical society – since July 28. Investigators say the burglaries have been reported in the same geographical area of the city. Some of the break-ins targeted businesses with unlocked doors, while others took place at businesses with locked doors and security systems.

The historical society is adjacent to the Wadsworth-Longfellow House and is in the heart of Portland’s downtown a few blocks from City Hall.

Though the burglaries have been concentrated around Portland’s downtown, the break-ins didn’t appear to target specific businesses. Based on the location and the products being sold, the burglaries seem to have been committed on a random basis. The businesses range from an optometrist’s office, apparel designer and a shop specializing in juice smoothies to a hair salon, Thai restaurant and craft beer gastropub.

“At this time, we’re developing the cases for the burglaries,” Martin said.

Burglaries also have been reported at Eyes on Rosemont on Middle Street; Maine Oyster Company on Portland Street; Maine Juice Company on Spring Street; Wallace James Clothing on High Street; Boda on Congress Street; Little Tap House on High Street; Leavitt & Sons Deli on Kennebec Street; Toni’s Touch on Forest Avenue; LB Kitchen on Congress Street; Lio Restaurant on Spring Street; Squeaky Clean Laundromat on Washington Avenue; Others! cafe at Monument Square; Bayside American Cafe on Portland Street; and Still a Good Cause thrift shop on Forest Avenue.

The burglar or burglars typically went after cash registers and safes inside the businesses, sometimes taking the entire register or small safes if they could not be opened. Portland police had advised business owners to lock up, install security systems and leave cash registers empty and open and safes secured so that a burglar would leave them alone and not try to carry them off.

Toun’s recent criminal history includes convictions for theft, unlawful possession of drugs, and violating the conditions of his release. He pleaded guilty to all three charges in November 2018, which stemmed from an incident in which police searched a car that belonged to a woman on bail conditions. Toun was also in the car, and because police found a crack pipe and other paraphernalia in the car, officers had probable cause to search Toun, according to a police report filed in Cumberland County Unified Court.

During that search, they found a stolen iPhone Toun had taken moments earlier from a house where police were originally called on Rochester Street, along with a Suboxone sublingual strip, a drug used to prevent the symptoms of opioid withdrawal. Police returned the iPhone to the woman who owned it, and Toun was arrested. He pled guilty at his first appearance in court and was sentenced to three days in jail.

 

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