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Several car break-ins at Sunday River

NEWRY (WGME) -- Thieves strike at one of Maine's most popular ski resorts, smashing in car windows and stealing people's valuables. It happened at Sunday River, right in the middle of winter break, while hundreds of families from Maine, Massachusetts and elsewhere were out skiing. So far, no one has been caught.

Several skiers, both on Wednesday and Thursday, found their car windows smashed and their belongings stolen. A number of the break-ins happened in the South Ridge parking lot, a hundred yards away from the ski lodge. Nick Lambert, A VP at Sunday River, says "They're very busy parking lots, and that's why this type of thing happens so infrequently."

There are literally hundreds of cars in the parking lots and thousands of skiers up on the mountain every day this week. Patty Keefe, from Rockland, Massachusetts, says "We have things for the whole weekend in the car. So that would really upset me if I came out and found all my belongings stolen." Keefe and other skiers were surprised to learn about the thefts.

Keefe says "I often say you never have to worry about everything on the mountain. You put expensive skis out, and you never have to worry about anybody walking away  with anything." Honor among skiers. No honor among thieves, as they stole valuables including wallets, purses and credit cards. The burglars even tried to use some of the credit cards at local stores.

Some victims were from Maine, others from Massachusetts. Sunday River's Nick Lambert says the victims "were surprised, disappointed, and frustrated. I mean, people come here for fun and it's really too bad something like this happened." Sheriff's deputies investigated the break-ins on Wednesday, then were back out here Thursday after thieves struck again.

Skier Mike Goodman, from Franklin, Massachusetts, says "I would hope the ski area is running patrols in the area and having people around to try to make sure that it's not happening." Nick Lambert says "We do our best to keep an eye on everything, but it's a very big resort.  It's really kind of tough to keep your eye on every corner at every minute."

After learning of the break-ins, one skier said "Maybe it's better to leave it unlocked so they don't smash the windows." Investigators with the Oxford County Sheriff's Office believe at least one of the suspects is a woman. They also think the Sunday River break-ins may be related to similar car break-ins recently in Westbrook and Yarmouth.

A number of skiers were wondering how it was that nobody heard car windows being smashed out. But the way automobile safety glass is made, the glass doesn't make much noise when it breaks. If you have any information about these break-ins, you're asked to contact the Oxford County Sheriff's Department.