The Bath YMCA is increasing security measures after a spate of vehicle break-ins over the past two months.

Thieves smashed the windows of two parked cars in November and again in December, taking valuables including purses and wallets, according to police.

YMCA Marketing and Communications Director Liz Johnson said the YMCA has posted signs and held discussions cautioning patrons. It also expects to install more security cameras to monitor parking lots.

“Thankfully, these events are not something that regularly occur at our YMCA, and in response, we quickly engaged law enforcement and an active investigation is ongoing,” Johnson said.

While these occurrences may be new to the YMCA, Bath Police Chief Andrew Booth said these types of crimes have been an issue along the Midcoast for nearly a decade.

“They target areas where victims might leave valuables in their cars instead of taking them with them, like gyms or day cares,” Booth said. “They either open the car door or smash a window, reach inside, grab the item and are gone within seconds.”


In 2021, 1,648 thefts from motor vehicles were reported across the state, according to

Vehicle break-ins have become a common occurrence over the past year.

Last April, there were five parking lot break-ins at Fort Williams State Park in Cape Elizabeth. Three cars were left unlocked and two had their windows smashed, according to the Portland Press Herald.

Cape Elizabeth police told the Press Herald that thieves often seek out tourist hot spots like state parks because visitors often carry cash, luggage and cameras, some of which they leave behind while exploring.

Booth said these crimes are often committed by out-of-staters but not always.

“We have various investigative tools we use to track them down, but these tools may not always lead to success,” Booth said. “Oftentimes, it takes partnering with other agencies to piece together clues and evidence to identify suspects.”

Earlier this month, police in Bath, Topsham and Brunswick put up a social media post cautioning residents to stay vigilant.

“The best thing people can do to not become a victim in the first place is by safeguarding and securing your vulnerable items,” Booth said.  “Second, have contact information for your bank and credit card company to put a hold or freeze on your accounts and to also be able to notify when/if the credit card is used. Call local police as soon as possible to make a report so we can start an investigation and assist with notifications, as there may be further crimes in neighboring jurisdictions soon after.”

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