August 26, 2010

Police say teens took wrong 'bait,' hit stakeout vehicle

By John Richardson jrichardson@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Two Falmouth teens made the job easy for local police officers setting up a stakeout in a community park last week, according to police.

Two officers had just arrived at Walton Park on Aug. 19 and parked a "bait car" with some valuables inside hoping to catch a crook and reduce the number of burglaries and other crimes reported there this summer, according to Falmouth Police Lt. John Kilbride.

But, according to Kilbride, an 18-year-old man instead broke into the surveillance van and took a bottle of water, apparently not noticing the officer in back behind a curtain. The second officer was out of sight near the bank of the Presumpscot River.

Then the alleged water thief and a friend stood next to the van, in front of a one-way glass window, and prepared to smoke some marijuana with a pipe made from a carrot. One teen even told the other that using the carrot would make it harder for police to bust them, Kilbride said.

"They found our surveillance van more attracting," Kilbride said. "We literally just set it up and I got the call, 'You're not going to believe this,' "

Brian Beasley, 18, was arrested and charged with burglary of a motor vehicle, theft and possession of marijuana. He later posted bail at Cumberland County Jail and is expected in court Oct. 14, according to Kilbride.

Thomas Caswell, 18, was given a civil summons for possession of marijuana.

Burglary of the surveillance van was an unexpected twist, but serious all the same, according to Kilbride. "If you're willing to enter a car for a bottle of water, you're willing to enter for anything," he said.

Kilbride said Falmouth police are continuing surveillance operation at parks and other areas where there has been a rash of car break-ins and other complaints.

Walton Park, a wooded park with trails just across the river from Portland, has been a hot spot for car break-ins, underage drinking and nude swimming, he said. Prostitutes also have been meeting customers at the park, although officers have yet to catch anyone in the act, Kilbride said.

Staff Writer John Richardson can be contacted at 791-6324 or at:

jrichardson@pressherald.com

 

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