A Rockland man caught Wednesday afternoon in the act of breaking into a car is suspected of being connected to a recent string of motor vehicle burglaries.

Anthony Bates, 56, of Rockland, was arrested about 2:30 p.m. March 25 by officers and charged with with burglary of a motor vehicle and theft, according to Rockland Police Chief Christopher Young.

Police received a report of someone breaking into cars near Maine Behavioral Health on Union Street. Officers responded and spotted Bates inside a vehicle, the chief said.

He was arrested and taken to the Knox County Jail in Rockland. He was released on $500 unsecured bail.

Rockland Police said they believe Bates is connected to several recent motor vehicle burglaries in Rockland and the investigation is ongoing with more possible charges.

Rockland Police again encourage people to lock their vehicles when unattended. Rockland Police also want to encourage citizens to contact them anytime they witness what they believe to be a crime occurring, including someone trying to enter cars illegally.

"Public safety is a community-wide effort and citizen cooperation was a key part of this investigation," police said.