Snow helps cop track two suspects


RUMFORD – Newly fallen snow Saturday helped police track and catch two Rumford youths, who, police say, went on a vandalism and thievery spree early in the morning on New Year’s Eve in Rumford.

One of the two 13-year-olds was arrested by 3:15 p.m. Sunday and charged with criminal mischief, criminal trespass and theft; the other was summoned on charges of criminal mischief and theft. Both were released to their parents, and will be arraigned on Feb. 12 in juvenile court at Rumford District Court.

Patrolman Tracey Higley said Wednesday afternoon that he took the initial report at 8:28 a.m. Sunday. Someone had burglarized a Hancock Street garage. Investigating, he found items that had been on shelves inside the garage strewn in the snow outside the building. Someone had reached inside some open windows.

The snow also revealed two sets of distinctive footprints. He began following the tracks, which led him from crime scene to crime scene, incidents that occurred between midnight and 2 a.m. The incidents included two sections of destroyed fencing at a Porter Avenue West residence, estimated at $300 in damage, and multiple Christmas lawn ornaments that were either destroyed or knocked over and damaged, and a set of Christmas lights ripped off a light pole and destroyed.

In addition to Hancock Street and Porter Avenue West, other crime scenes were found on Somerset, Kennebec and Penobscot streets.

“After about five hours of following these footprints all over the neighborhood, they led me to a house, eventually,” where one of the boy’s lived, Higley said.

But it wasn’t as easy as it sounds. Often, the footprints left a yard, entered a street and disappeared, so Higley had to search up and down the sides of streets to regain the tracks.

“The funny thing is, after all this time of not seeing any matching footprints, I had quit and was walking back to my car, and, lo and behold, there were the same tracks, and that led me to a residence of one of the juveniles,” he said.