Limited damage from Peace Portalcrime wave

Published on Thu, Mar 8, 2001 by Soren Velice

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Limited damage from Peace Portal
crime wave

By Soren Velice

Several burglaries since last week have Blaine police worried about a crime wave in this small town.

When Blaine Bouquet owner Mary Amsberry came in to open up on February 28, she found her front door smashed and the cash register missing. “They didn’t get much, because we don’t keep anything in it,” she said. “Just some coins because we don’t feel like counting pennies and nickels at the end of the day.”

Aside from the register, which police found by the train tracks, and the broken glass door, the burglar didn’t do any damage. “We feel very fortunate,” Amsberry said. “It could have been so much worse; they could have trashed the place and didn’t.”

Although the thief didn’t take much away, he or she left some clues behind. “There were fingerprints,” said police chief Bill Elfo. “We don’t have anybody to arrest yet but there was a large amount of blood. We’ve preserved that and will get a DNA test.”

Another burglary greeted a downtown business owner early the morning of March 6. The burglar(s) struck again next door to Blaine Bouquet at Ashley’s Attic in an almost identical crime. “Somebody took a rock and shattered my front door,” proprietor Amy Lindeman said. “They took the register, unplugged it and took it to the exact same spot.” Like the other break-in, they left fingerprints. Unlike the previous crime, however, they didn’t leave blood. “They got a little smarter,” Lindeman said.

Unlike the other burglary, the thief got away with some cash. Lindeman said $150 U.S. was in the drawer with $50 Canadian and a check for $27; the check was left in the demolished register. “It’s the only night I didn’t take the money out,” she said. “I got $27.19 to start the day.”

Losses from the two burglaries were about $500 apiece for the doors and $300 each for the cash registers.

Police say they have two suspects, but cannot release the names until arrests are made. “The suspects were around and talked to officers about something else,” detective Doug Balmer said. “I’ll request a warrant if I can get enough evidence.” Elfo said police were led to the men by informants. “They’re acquaintances of the suspects,” he said.

Elfo said police are holding off matching the fingerprints until they can get prints from a suspect. “It’s hard to match latents with latents, so we try to match them against rolled prints,” he said. “We’ll try to do that when things develop further.”

In the wake of the burglaries, Elfo said the frequency of downtown patrols will be increased.

As for the store owners, they are still considering options to prevent more burglaries. “We think it’s an isolated incident,” said Kim Miller, co-owner of Blaine Bouquet. “But we aren’t going to rule anything out; we’re leaving more lights on and we’ll secure things as much as we can before we leave.”

Lindeman said she was determined to prevent another robbery. “I’m definitely going to do something,” she said. “I’m not sure what – there are so many options.”

Lindeman said she’s angry about the robberies. “It’s hard enough to keep a business open here,” she said. “To have someone come and destroy that for their benefit is really discouraging.”

Elfo said car burglaries on Marine Drive the night of the break-in at Ashley’s underlined the urgency of solving the spree. “I guess we have a crime wave downtown,” he said.

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