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RCMP have laid a total of 47 charges against three people in connection with a slew of break-ins in three counties over a span of 10 months.
Police said more than 100 break-ins occurred between January and October of this year in Lunenburg, Halifax and Hants counties. The stolen property was valued at more than $500,000 and included a vehicle, speed boat, trailer, tires, generators and power tools.
Cpl. Dal Hutchinson said information from investigators in each county and RCMP crime analysts suggested the break-ins were connected. A joint investigation began last month involving officers from all three counties.
A Halifax business and Hubbards residence were searched as part of the investigation and several items linked to the break-ins were seized. The accused were arrested in the past week, Hutchinson said.
Nicholas John Mitchell, 39, of Hubbards is charged with 11 counts of break and enter, 10 of possession of stolen property, six of mischief, six of trespassing at night, five of theft and one of possession of break-in instruments.
He made an initial court appearance and is in custody pending appearances in provincial court in Halifax on Dec. 3, Windsor on Dec. 11, and Lunenburg on Dec.19.
Darlene Marie MacAulay, 46, of Tantallon is charged with four counts of theft, one of possession of stolen property, and one of mischief. She is free on a recognizance and is scheduled to appear in court in Lunenburg on Jan. 9 and Halifax on Feb. 14.
Andrew Stewart Ritchie, 42, of Hatchet Lake is charged with two counts of possession of stolen property. He is scheduled to appear in Halifax provincial court on Feb. 12.
Hutchinson said the charges don’t cover all of the break-ins suspected of being connected.
“We suspect they’re connected to the other break-ins, but unfortunately not enough evidence exists to lay the charges,” he said. “But like any investigation, if more information comes to light, there is the potential for more charges.”
Hutchinson said anyone who thinks they may have unwittingly purchased stolen goods should contact police.
He doesn’t know how much stolen property has been recovered.
“There were so many items seized that we’re still identifying who the owners are,” he said. “In some cases, we’ve been able to return property to people, but we have multiple generators recovered. ... There is a lot of work to be done sorting out all the items that were seized.”