Holly L. Doherty, 47, was detained Friday in South Paris by State Trooper Ron Turnick after he spotted her driving her maroon Tahoe on Route 26 near Market Square, Casey said Saturday afternoon.
She was taken to Stephens Memorial Hospital for a medical evaluation, according to Casey.
The property in the vehicle helped investigators from all over Maine in solving dozens of property crimes not only in Oxford County but also several cities in the southern half of the state, according to a subsequent OCSD press release. Casey, who interviewed Doherty, said she is expected to be charged with multiple felony property crimes for car or residence break-ins and thefts in Newry, Bethel, Woodstock, Freeport, Yarmouth, Westbrook and Portland. The thefts began in early February, he said.
Four cars parked in the Southridge parking lot at Sunday River Resort had their windows smashed and items taken Thursday.
Casey said he referred to the suspect as the ‘ski burglar’ because so many of the thefts involved ski equipment. But he said the thefts were not limited to ski gear. Also taken were such items as clocks and home decorations. A stolen credit card was used at a store in Woodstock, Casey said. There were also car break-ins in Bethel business parking lots, including at Pat’s Pizza, the Sunday River Brewing Co. and the Black Diamond Steakhouse, he said.
He said a search warrant was executed between Friday night and Saturday morning at Doherty’s Falmouth home, where thousands of dollars’ worth of property was recovered.
“She admitted to investigators that she didn’t need any of the property,” said Casey. “I would call her a prolific thief. She really lacked a fear of consequences.” He attributed her actions to a “compulsive motivation and influence.”
He said that a credit card stolen in one of the Bethel car break-ins was used at the Circle K store/gas station in Bethel. Surveillance video from that business showed Doherty entering the store and aided in her eventual detention by Turnick, who Casey said spent hours viewing video and searching for Doherty’s vehicle.
During the traffic stop Turnick was able to establish facts that would later prove she was the person he had been searching for, according to the press release. The video matched some of the apparel that the suspect was wearing at the time of the stop, down to the type and style of corrective lenses she was wearing, the release said.
Casey said a tool made to help people escape from damaged vehicles was used in the vehicle break-ins. The tool includes a seat belt cutter and a mechanism to break windows.
Doherty also allegedly broke into residences in southern Maine, again breaking windows but doing no other damage, Casey said.
He said nearly all of the equipment should be able to be returned to owners. “Some has already been returned,” he said.
Multiple felony charges will be presented to an Oxford County Grand Jury, Casey said.
Also participating in the investigation were Cpl. George Cayer, Cpl. Justin Brown, Deputy Sullivan Rizzo, Deputy Andy Whitney and Sgt. Matt Baker of the OCSD, and Troopers Ron Turnick, Jason Wing and Dan Hanson and Sgt. Kyle Tilsley of the Maine State Police.