Thursday, July 11, 2002

Two businesses burglarized in Cape

Published in the Current

Two Cape Elizabeth businesses were broken into and robbed in the past week. The suspects in both cases are still at large, and police are investigating.

On July 6, just before 3 a.m., two or more suspects used an axe to chop a hole in the roof of the Cape Variety. They stole cigarettes and sunglasses, and gained access to the store’s safe and ATM, said Detective Paul Fenton. He did not disclose the amount of cash stolen.

“It appears as though they were interrupted by the owner of the building, who was returning from out of town,” Fenton said. The owner apparently stopped by to bring a sign in from outside. “There was evidence left behind,” Fenton said.

The department is operating out of a new station, and not all of the evidence-processing equipment is set up yet, Fenton said. As a result, he may ask the Scarborough and South Portland police departments to assist him in analyzing items retrieved from the break-in.

Police also tried to track the suspects, who fled the scene on foot, by using a dog, but the closest available tracking dog that morning was in Windham. The time delay may have aided in the escape of the suspects, who have not been apprehended.

That crime appeared to be organized, Fenton said, unlike the July 9 break-in to the Crescent Beach Snack Shack, which was discovered early in the morning of July 10. Fenton said the beach break-in was likely the work of drunk teen-agers returning from a party.

“It’s all connected to kids partying and drinking,” Fenton said. “Anything that’s in their path home will be destroyed.”

The people who broke into the Snack Shack kicked in a window and got away with some cash, a five-gallon tub of ice cream and several items of candy. Fenton said there was a line of candy and wrappers on the path from the shack to Richmond Terrace, as if the people were just eating it along the way.

That break-in, he said, is a class C felony, punishable by up to five years in prison. “The problem with the kids is getting worse,” Fenton said. “They’re committing felonies for candy.”

Fenton said the beach incident is reminiscent of the vandalism at the Little League shack at Lions Field, in which drunk teens have done damage to property they pass. He recommended residents call the police if they see unknown teenagers in their neighborhoods after dark.

“People don’t call us,” he said, but vandalism is almost a given if parties continue.

“If kids party and drink in your area, there will be criminal mischief in your area,” Fenton said.