Waterville police say the burglaries at Alfond Youth Center may involve a ring operating out of state.

WATERVILLE — The FBI is helping in the investigation into the smash-and-grab burglaries of 11 vehicles at Alfond Youth Center last month after a police investigation revealed that it could be part of a ring operating in Maine and beyond, Police Chief Joseph Massey says.

“The investigation has expanded significantly and has expanded out of our area and possibly out of state,” Massey said Thursday. “We have asked the FBI to help us because of the wide area we believe the group is operating in.”

In the burglaries Oct. 24 in the Alfond parking lot off North Street, a surveillance camera picked up a white minivan leaving the lot. Police said at the time that the minivan might be the key to solving the burglaries, in which two people were believed to have been involved.

The thieves broke car windows and stole items including computers, purses, wallets, cellphones, an iPod, drivers’ licenses, cash, checkbooks, prescription glasses, credit cards and gift cards. The burglaries took place just before 11 a.m.

Massey said Thursday that the burglaries involve more than two people.

“We haven’t identified everyone in the group,” he said. “The few people we have tentatively identified has led us to believe there are quite a few people involved in breaking into cars and selling the items.”

An agent at the FBI’s Augusta office said Thursday that officials there “do not really discuss ongoing investigations.” He referred questions to the FBI’s Boston office. A call to the media relations department at that office was not immediately returned.

Massey said police received information about car burglaries in other areas that led them to believe the same people were involved in the Alfond burglaries.

“We also gathered some reliable information that supports they are happening not only in Maine, but out of the state of Maine,” he said.

Waterville police do not often ask for FBI help in criminal investigations, Massey said.

“Because of their vast resources, we probably call them often for specific information, or utilize their technology capabilities,” he said. “It is very infrequent when we actually have an FBI agent actively working an ongoing case with us, such as the Ayla Reynolds case. When we do ask them for assistance, they are very responsive and provide any resources we request, including an agent (or agents) if necessary.”

Ayla Reynolds, 20 months old at the time, disappeared from her father’s Violette Avenue home on Dec. 17, 2011. No one has been charged in her disappearance.

Christal Siren, a victim of the Oct. 24 burglaries at Alfond Center, said Thursday that she has not heard a lot about the investigation except that one of her stolen checks had been cashed and that police had leads in the case.

A physical therapist in Skowhegan-based School Administrative District 54, Siren was working with special needs students at the Alfond pool when her locked 2008 Nissan Pathfinder was broken into and items stolen, including a computer, iPad, hard drive, her purse containing $200 cash, two New Balance gift cards for $80 each, a checkbook, credit cards, insurance cards, binoculars, lunchbox, L.L. Bean bag and confidential files containing student evaluations and other paperwork.

Siren said she would like to see the items returned, but is not hopeful. “It would be wonderful, but I have a feeling that they’ve gotten rid of my stuff,” she said.

Massey said he thinks the burglary cases will be solved.

“We’re encouraged in the information that we’re gathering that we’ll eventually be able to identify everybody and hopefully make arrests,” he said.

Massey said anyone with information about the case may call police at 680-4700.

Amy Calder can be contacted at 861-9247 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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