DOVER-FOXCROFT – In a script that could have come from a detective novel, police say a Dover-Foxcroft man committed more than 250 burglaries and marked the towns where they were committed with an “X” on a DeLorme map.

Wayne Richards, 31, relinquished the marked map to police and reportedly has admitted to break-ins in about 22 towns. He is being held at the Piscataquis County Jail on two cases in which he has pleaded guilty to Class A robbery and Class B burglary.

To find his targets, Richards allegedly would call a real estate agent, a municipal official or police in a specific town and ask where the best place would be to relocate, according to lead investigator Dave Wilson of the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Department.

“He would pick out a town, then pick a neighborhood and basically he’d hit everything he could in that neighborhood and then move on,” Wilson said Wednesday.

Burglaries from winter 2006 through fall 2007 involved vehicles, homes and businesses in six counties stretching from Franklin to Aroostook.

When Richards arrived in towns distant from Dover-Foxcroft, he used stolen identification to rent a motel room and used it if the pickings were good and he needed more days or if he needed a quick getaway, Wilson said. He told police he always committed burglaries between Friday and Monday because that was when people got paid and had money, Wilson said.

Piscataquis County District Attorney R. Christopher Almy said Wednesday he told Richards he would recommend at his sentencing next month he receive five years in prison for the robbery and four years for the burglary, to be served consecutively.

However, Almy told Richards he would recommend the prison terms be served concurrently if the Dover-Foxcroft man cooperated with police on other burglaries that have occurred in the region.

Richards reportedly accepted the plea agreement, and in a recent interview with the sheriff’s department, local police and the state police, provided information on burglaries at Abbot Village Bakery, the Brownville Junction concession stand, a Howland car wash, a beauty salon in either Levant or Carmel, a store in Sebec and another home break-in in Penobscot County in which a large amount of cash was taken.

Wilson said that while Richards told police he broke into an estimated 1,000 vehicles, he believes that is an exaggeration. Police were reportedly told the combined burglaries netted Richards about $10,000, said Wilson, who believed the money was used for drugs.

In some of those burglaries, Wilson said Richards allegedly carried a handgun stolen from a vehicle in Millinocket and used in a Milo robbery. Recovered by state police divers from the Piscataquis River earlier this week, the handgun was tied to Richards from taped conversations he made to friends from the Piscataquis County Jail.

Wilson spent several hours listening to the conversations and found that Richards violated conditions of his bail by contacting victims or witnesses in the Milo and Dover-Foxcroft cases. The investigator said Richards also pleaded with friends to bail him out so he could commit more crimes and get money to flee the region so he wouldn’t have to serve any more time.

During a law enforcement task force meeting last year, Richards’ name surfaced in connection with the break-ins, according to Wilson.

“We suspected several people, one being Mr. Richards,” Wilson recalled. At the time, Richards had been released from jail on a prior burglary and had moved to Dover-Foxcroft.

The burglaries first involved vehicles where petty change was taken. The doors of many vehicles were left unlocked, but if Richards saw a pocketbook, a purse or money, he would break a window, Wilson said.

Richards told police he narrowly escaped capture on foot during a break-in in Dexter and was nearly caught while burglarizing a car wash in Howland.

Police said another person involved in the burglaries drove Richards to the different communities, dropped him off to commit the burglaries, and then picked him up at a location specified beforehand, he said.

The investigation is continuing. Other arrests and charges are pending.

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