Alert neighbors have been credited by police for helping solve a string of burglaries that began the night of March 7 with the sound of banging near Rockport Harbor.

According to police reports, the incidents began around 10 p.m. on March 7 when a neighbor of Rockport Marine heard something unusual, went outside to investigate and observed a familiar looking pickup truck driving away from the waterfront. The neighbor reported what he witnessed to the police.

Several hours later, at 1:30 a.m. on March 8, an alarm was triggered at West Street Market on Route 90 in Rockport. Officer Wes Butler arrived, discovered a window propped open, and determined there had been a break-in at the convenience store. Butler called Camden police for backup, and then asked a Maine State Police trooper, who was at the time in Palermo, to drive a tracking dog to the store and help determine where the perpetrator had gone. At 2:30 a.m., the dog led law enforcement officials to the parking lot of the Camden-Rockport Elementary School where the scent stopped, according to police.

Butler also called Chuck Christie, owner of West Street Market, who arrived and determined money had been stolen from the office, and a safe had been damaged during an attempt to crack it open.

Later on March 8, Rockport Marine employees arrived at work and discovered that marine supplies and raw materials had been stolen from the waterfront business.

During the day on March 8, another witness told Rockport police that he had heard a loud truck near West Street Market in the early hours of the morning, with an engine that sounded a lot like it was working on eight cylinders and a standard transmission.

That morning, Rockport Police Officer Dana Smith interviewed Travis Dodge, 23, of Rockport as a person of interest in the Rockport Marine burglary, and police said Dodge admitted involvement. Dodge, however, denied involvement with the West Street Market burglary.

Smith issued Dodge a summons for theft, but because Dodge was at that time taking care of a small child, Rockport police released him.

Later on March 8 at 4:15 p.m., Camden police responded to a report of shoplifting at Hannaford Supermarket at the Camden-Rockport town line. There an off-duty state trooper, who was doing some shopping, observed Dodge in the act of allegedly shoplifting. Camden police subsequently issued a summons to Dodge for theft by unauthorized taking and transported him to the Knox County Jail.

Smith stopped by the Hannaford Supermarket parking lot and noticed that more items taken from Rockport Marine were in Dodge’s pickup. Smith then went to the county jail in Rockland and asked Dodge about the additional items in the truck, which were supposed to have been returned to Rockport Marine. Smith also asked Dodge again about involvement with West Street Market. Dodge again told Smith he was not involved, police said.

Dodge subsequently made bail, police said, and left the jail the night of March 8.

At approximately 10:30 p.m. on March 8, the same neighbor who heard the March 7 commotion was startled again by noise. He called the police, and Rockport Police Officer Butler arrived, and called Camden Police Officer Allen Weaver for backup. The two searched the area and discovered Dodge’s pickup in the parking lot next to Rockport Marine. Inside the cab was Dodge, who, police said, claimed to be asleep.

Next to him were glass cutters and other burglary tools, Rockport police said, which led to charges of violating conditions of release from the Knox County Jail.

Butler took Dodge back to jail, and at that point, Dodge allegedly admitted to his involvement with the West Street Market break-in.

Dodge has been charged with burglary, violating conditions of release, criminal trespass, theft and possession of burglary tools. His court date is scheduled for April 26 at the Knox County Courthouse in Rockland.

Rockport Police Administrator Craig Cooley advised the public that being aware of strange noises in the neighborhood and reporting them is helpful to local law enforcement in solving crimes.

“As the economy gets tougher, these kinds of incidents get more frequent,” he said.

“It is important for neighbors to be looking out for neighbors and no matter how minor or peculiar the thing might be it is always good to report it because it could lead to bigger things,” said Police Chief Mark Kelley.