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Burglary at Elsmere BBQ possibly linked to 15 other business break-ins in Maine

Police in Portland, Westbrook and South Portland are collaborating as they investigate nearly a dozen similar burglaries to businesses.
Credit: Elsmere BBQ
Safe broken into at Elsmere BBQ

PORTLAND, Maine — Police are investigating yet another burglary of a Portland-area business that has similarities with more than a dozen other recent break-ins. 

Elsmere BBQ on Stevens Avenue in Portland was broken into early Wednesday morning around 1:00 a.m.  According to the owners Adams Powers and Jeremy Rush, the burglar cut all cable lines on the roof rendering their security cameras and security alarm useless. 

The burglar used what Powers and Rush believe might be a crowbar to break-in through the fire exit door. The owners said the door will have to be replaced.

Credit: NCM
The owners of Elsmere BBQ in Portland believe the burglar may have used a crowbar to break into their eatery.

Once inside, the person broke into the business' cash safe making out with a week's worth of petty cash which owners said was a significant amount and other funds that were raised the night before for a non-profit. 

An old safe was also broken into after the burglar threw it down a set of stairs but there was nothing kept in that safe.  

Credit: Elsmere BBQ
Safe broken into at Elsmere BBQ

In the year and a half that their Portland location has been open and the six years that their Cottage Road location has been open in South Portland, the owners said this is the first time they have been broken into.

"He knew to snip all the security lines. I don't know what else to do, to be honest. It proves that if someone wants to get in, they are going to get in," said Rush. 

The owners want other businesses in the area to be aware and on the lookout. Police are investigating the burglary and came to Elsmere BBQ on Wednesday morning.l 

"They didn't find any prints. This is not a drunk kid. This was a hit," Powers said. 

Lt. Robert Martin of the Portland Police Department said the Elsmere burglary may be part of a series of break-ins at businesses in Portland, South Portland and Westbrook that detectives are investigating. 

Portland Police are collaborating with Westbrook and South Portland Departments to investigate the burglaries. 

  • August 23: China Taste Restaurant at 1223 Washington Ave., Portland
  • September 11: Paulin’s Tire at 1036 Forest Avenue, Portland
  • September 12: Portland Dry Cleaners at 28 Allen Ave, Portland
  • September 20: Tire Warehouse at 195 Riverside, Portland
  • September 20: Jiffy Lube at 260 Riverside Street, Portland
  • September 20: Po Boy's & Pickles at 1124 Forest Ave.
  • September 27: Radiant Images Salon at 9 Sanbor Street
  • October 5: Autumn Nails & Spac at 321 Allen Ave, Portland
  • October 10: Jiffy Lube at 260 Riverside, Portland
  • October 11: Berlin City at 191 Riverside, Portland
  • October 11: Paulins Tire at 1020 Congress Street, Portland
  • October 11: AF Fitzgerald Tile at 12 Westfield, Portland
  • October 13: Dairy Queen at 272 Main Street, Westrbook
  • October 26: Eddie's  Variety Store at Auburn Street, Portland
  • October 26: Coastal Trading at 543 Forest Ave, Portland
  • October 30:  Elsmere Barbeque at 476 Stevens Ave, Portland

Lt. Martin said they are seeing similarities in how these 16 businesses were broken into and what the burglar was targeting once inside. Lt. Martin said in several of the cases the burglar cut the cable lines to the alarms.  

RELATED: Burglary at South Portland diner may be connected to others in area

RELATED: Westbrook man going to federal prison after admitting to series of armed robberies

PORTLAND, Maine – Portland Police want to alert the public to a rash of commercial burglaries in Portland. While there are similarities in the crimes, it is too early to determine if they are being perpetrated by the same individual(s).

Detectives are actively pursuing investigative leads and are working with other greater Portland departments that have similar crimes in their cities. Patrol officers are increasing their proactive patrols throughout the city and we are asking that business owners lock their doors and windows.

Police are sharing a list of burglaries that have occurred between August 23, 2019 and October 20, 2019. (See below).

If anyone has any information that could help Police solve these crimes, please call (207) 874-8575.

8/23/2019 China Taste @ 1223 Washington Avenue

9/11/2019 Paulin’s Tire @ 1036 Forest Avenue

9/12/2019 Portland Dry Cleaners

@ 28 Allen Ave

9/20/2019 Jiffy Lube @ 260 Riverside St

9/20/2019 Po Boy’s & Pickles @ 1124 Forest Ave

9/20/2019 Tire Warehouse @ 195 Riverside St

9/27/2019 Radiant Images Salon @ 9 Sanborn St

10/05/2019

Autumn Nails & Spa @ 321 Allen Ave

10/10/2019 Jiffy Lube @ 260 Riverside St

10/11/2019 Berlin City @ 191 Riverside St

10/11/2019 Paulin’s Tire @ 1020 Congress St

10/11/2019 AF Fitzgerald @ 12 Westfield St

10/26/2019 Eddie’s Variety @ 377 Auburn St

10/26/2019 Coastal Trading @ 543 Forest Ave

10/30/2019 Elsmere Barbeque @ 476 Stevens Ave