PLAISTOW — A good relationship between police and a local pawnshop resulted in the arrest of a couple wanted on burglary charges in Maine.
Deputy police Chief Kathleen Jones credited "the long-standing relationship and cooperation that this agency has with the Rockingham Trading Post" for the arrest of a homeless couple Wednesday evening.
Summer Aliariza, 29, and Patrick Quinn, 36, were arrested at the pawnshop at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday, after the shop alerted police to their presence.
Aliariza and Quinn were picked up as being fugitives from justice out of Maine. The Knox County (Maine) Sheriff's Department had arrest warrants for two counts each of burglary and two counts of theft by receiving stolen property for the pair.
The arrests were good news in Maine.
"We're happy they are in custody," Knox County Sheriff's Lt. Kirk Guerrette said yesterday afternoon. "We had a slew of burglaries in several different communities and formed a task force of investigators to put a lot of information together."
The result was a link between some of the burglaries and the two suspects. More charges and possibly more arrests could come.
In addition to his department, Guerrette said, the Maine State Police, Belfast Police Department, Waldoboro Police Department, Lincoln County Sheriff's Office, Camden Police, Rockland Police, Waldo County Sheriff's Office and perhaps several other police agencies in southern Maine have been involved in the investigation.
"The investigation continues into more burglaries that have not been solved yet," Guerrette said. "It's possible they could be facing more charges."
It's also possible the pair could face charges here, Jones said.
What Aliariza and Quinn were trying to pawn here could have been stolen — and stolen locally, she said.
"It's a good possibility," Jones said.
She urged area residents to check their valuables — particularly coins, jewelry, silver and pewter — to see if anything is missing. Residents should inventory their valuables and contact their local police department if they find anything missing.
The suspects apparently did not force their way into homes, but got in through other means, Jones said. A homeowner might well not be aware their home had been burglarized, she said.
The pair would take a small amount of jewelry or other items, Jones said, which again might delay detection by the homeowner.
He said the couple lived in local hotels. Police in Maine obtained search warrants for the suspects' vehicle and one of the hotel rooms they stayed in.
They recovered enough evidence to merit arrest warrants on the charges, he said.
"They were stealing mostly silver, jewelry, anything that could be melted down," he said.
"They would go to local pawnshops or jewelry shops that were buying things off the street. By the time investigators catch up, they're gone."
He said Maine officials had been looking for Aliariza and Quinn for at least a week or two, but the criminal investigation into the string of burglaries had been going on for much longer.
"We suspected they might end up in Massachusetts or New Hampshire," Guerrette said.
Jones said police agencies will sometimes issue a general alert in cases like this one or notify some departments directly.
Agencies throughout New England that have pawnshops or second-hand shops in their jurisdictions communicate often, she said.
She credited Plaistow's pawnshop ordinance and reporting system that resulted as an invaluable tool in solving such crimes.
"Our detectives are constantly aware of what's going on, who's pawning what," she said. "There's a good network with other agencies with pawnshops or secondhand dealers in their towns."
She also praised the Rockingham Trading Post.
"It's a good relationship and following the rules obviously paid off in this case — for the police, the business and the victims," Jones said.
Aliariza and Quinn were arraigned as fugitives from justice in the 10th Circuit Court in Plaistow yesterday.
They are being held without bail in the county jail and have court appearances scheduled for Thursday, Jones said.
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