'Hard to speculate' if northwestern N.B. break-ins are related: RCMP

Police in northwestern New Brunswick continue to investigate an "unusual" number of break and enters since the start of summer.

RCMP Sgt. Michel Ouellette says businesses, residences and sheds throughout Victoria and Madawaska counties have been targeted in several rashes of break-ins.

Ouellette says it's not unusual to see more break and enters during the summer months, but this year has been above average.

"I think there's been a higher number of businesses hit recently compared to prior years," he said. "For residences and sheds, it's been on average."

According to Ouellette, some of the businesses have been hit by thieves on more than one occasion.

Dozens of break-ins reported

Ouellette could not say how many break and enters there have been, but according to recent RCMP news releases, there have been at least 10 in the Drummond local service district, New Denmark, Saint-André, Saint-François-de-Madawaska and Saint-Hilaire since early August.

He said RCMP patrols have been ongoing throughout the region all summer and will continue in the coming weeks and months.

There have been no arrests at this time and officers are still trying to identify "several" suspects, said Ouellette.

"Right now it's hard to speculate on motives and also on if they're all related," he said. "The investigations are still active and we're trying to identify the subjects responsible."

Break-ins also reported in Grand Falls, Edmundston

Ouellette said the RCMP are working with municipal police forces in Grand Falls and Edmundston, which have also seen several break-ins.

Grand Falls police Chief Suzanne Themens said officers in her town are investigating about 30 break and enters since the beginning of the year — including as many as 18 since August.

Themens said it's too soon to say if any of the incidents are related, but investigators are working diligently to solve them.

In nearby Edmundston, Insp. Alain Lang said there have been seven recent break and enters in the city, and five of them have already been solved.

Police are asking anyone with information on any of the break-ins, or who sees something suspicious, to contact their local police force or Crime Stoppers.

Business owners are asked not to leave large amounts of money at their business, and residents are reminded to lock their doors and keep valuables out of sight in vehicles.