Portland police are encouraging residents to lock up their snowblowers because four of the machines were stolen in the past week.

Police say the snowblowers were reported stolen from homes on Ludlow Street, Hodgins Street, Allen Avenue and Forest Avenue. None has been recovered.

The snowblowers were all left outdoors and were not secured, said police Lt. James Sweatt.

“People are obviously cruising through neighborhoods to find families prepping to clear the snow,” Sweatt said. “We’re concerned about the trend.”

Sweatt said police believe the suspects are using a pickup truck to move the snowblowers, which weigh as much as 100 pounds. Police say they believe that at least two people are involved with the thefts.

Police urged owners to store snowblowers indoors or chained up out of view from any road. Sweatt said an owner should record the machine’s serial number, make and model. Without that information, it’s nearly impossible to recover stolen machines from pawn shops or other sellers, he said.

“This is a crime of opportunity. They may not be out to steal a snowblower, but they see an opportunity,” Sweatt said. “Right now there’s a demand (for snowblowers) and someone seems to have figured out they can be stolen and sold. They’ve created a mini-market.”

Sweatt said anyone who sees suspicious activity in their neighborhood should call police immediately.

Gillian Graham can be contacted at 791-6315 or at:

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