BRUNSWICK — Brunswick police say someone broke into three vehicles parked outside MainePines Racquet and Fitness on Harpswell Road Thursday night, the latest in a string of similar burglaries.

Someone smashed car windows and removed items from the vehicles sometime between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m., according to Brunswick Police Cmdr. Mark Waltz.

It’s the second time “smash and grab” crimes have happened at the fitness center in the past two months.

Police know of about 10 reported smash and grabs during that timeframe. They also happened outside a daycare on Maquoit Road, outside Orange Circuit Fitness on Gurnet Road in Cook’s Corner, outside the YMCA at Brunswick Landing and at the Androscoggin River Bicycle and the Pedestrian Path on Water Street.

Around the same time, there were similar crimes in Rockland, Biddeford, Saco and South Portland.

Waltz said several law enforcement agencies are investigating a rash of the “smash and grabs” along Route 1.

The string of car burglaries have spurred police to remind the public to hide valuables from view or remove them from the car altogether. The thieves have been taking purses, credit cards and checkbooks, among other valuables.

Waltz urged people headed to the gym or their daycare center to be on the lookout for someone sitting in a vehicle watching people, particularly if they are in a vehicle with out-of-state plates.

Police believe the smash and grabs are being committed by a group of people specializing in this particular crime — stealing IDs, checkbooks and credit cards and going to the bank to use them before they’re reported missing. The perpetrators look for vehicles parked in vulnerable places like gyms and daycares where people are more likely to leave valuables inside.

Bath police arrested a 17-year-old from Georgia who allegedly broke into a car parked at the South End Park on Dec. 7., taking a purse. Police believe that smash and grab was related to another at the park on Nov. 21.

Since the teen’s arrest, Bath hasn’t seen any additional smash and grabs.

“We think these are all connected,” Bath Deputy Police Chief Andrew Booth said.

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