The Courier-Gazette

A complaint in December about a tent being set up in Warren without a landowner’s permission sparked a probe that led to the arrest this week of a Thomaston man suspected in numerous burglaries throughout the midcoast.

Joshua L. Vandine, 37, was arrested March 19 and charged with receiving stolen property – a gun stolen in November 2016. The Maine Department of Public Safety stated in a news release that Vandine is a suspect in numerous burglaries at storage units.

Assistant District Attorney Christopher Fernald said Vandine’s criminal history dates back to 1997 and includes numerous burglaries, thefts and possession of firearms by a felon, as well as an assault on an officer.

Maine State Police Sgt. Patrick Hood was notified in December by Maine Game Warden Mark Merrifield that a convicted felon might by in possession of a gun, according to an affidavit filed in Knox County Unified Court. A landowner off Highland Road had complained of a tent being set up on his property without his permission. The warden checked on the complaint and found ammunition.

Hood and Merrifield interviewed the man and he admitted he had a gun and said he had bought it from Vandine, according to the affidavit.

The gun had been stolen from a home in Newcastle on Oct. 25, 2016.

Police began checking on Vandine and checking the vehicles he owned to see if they matched surveillance photographs from several break-ins at storage units.

In one break-in at a Woolwich storage unit, about $100,000 in antiques had been stolen, according to the affidavit. A surveillance photograph showed a vehicle similar to what Vandine owned at the time. A surveillance tape from a nearby convenience store also showed the vehicle and a man going into the store who resembled Vandine’s photo on his Facebook page, according to the police report.

Police looked into other break-ins, including a May 29, 2017 burglary at a coin shop on West Street in Rockport.

Five days earlier a man fitting Vandine’s description had been in the coin shop and afterward, about $1,000 in coins disappeared, according to the affidavit.

Police found that Vandine had given some rare coins the previous summer to the man he had sold the stolen gun to, according to the affidavit.

Troopers seized enough items from Vandine’s home on Main Street in Thomaston, vehicle and his own storage locker to load two U-Haul trucks. The items include chainsaws, tools, hunting and fishing equipment, coins, antiques, toys and clothing, according to Maine Department of Public Safety.

Owners who have not checked their own storage units in months could be victims, police said. One tactic used by the burglars was cutting off locks and replacing them with other locks. Storage unit owners and renters who have discovered they are victims should call State Police in Augusta at 624-7076.

Vandine is being held in lieu of $10,000 cash bail. He was scheduled to make his initial appearance in the Knox court on Wednesday afternoon.