Burlington Police are hunting for a pair of men they say attacked and robbed another man on a city sidewalk this weekend. The victim, a 20 year old man from Richmond, is listed in stable condition at Fletcher Allen. Now police are asking for help bringing his attackers to justice.
"Violent crime like this on our city streets cannot and should not be tolerated and we really need the public's help," said Burlington Police Lt. Jennifer Morrison.
Police want to know if anyone saw two young men in the area of North Willard Street very early Sunday morning around 1:30 a.m. They believe they beat up the 20-year-old, stabbed him in the torso and then stole his wallet. "At this time, we believe the victim did not know his attackers," Morrison said.
Investigators say the attackers were in their teens or 20s. One was white, 5-foot-6 or 7, and slender -- wearing a dark bandana around his head, under a wide flat-brimmed hat. The other was tan or dark skinned and taller -- 5-foot-10 or 6 feet. Both were in dark clothes. The victim told detectives one of the men showed a gun during the mugging, but didn't shoot.
The crime left neighbors on edge. "More than nervous -- it's crazy," said Crystal Hall.
Trisha Hlastawa, who also lives near the crime scene, said, "I'm definitely nervous but I just have to stay here and try to stay as comfortable as possible. If I'm uncomfortable, I'll just leave."
Police are offering cash rewards for information that helps their case and say even in a generally safe city, the crime underscores the need to take personal safety precautions. "The victim's selection is made by the suspects based on whether or not there's other foot or vehicle traffic in the area -- if the person is walking alone or in groups. There's a variety of ways street crimes become more desirable to would-be assailants," Morrison said.
The attackers ran from North Willard Street toward Archibald Street and Riverside Avenue, so investigators are hoping someone saw them. Police also want folks to know they're glad to get reports of suspicious people or activities even if no crime has been committed. If someone had thought these two muggers seemed out-of-place or up to no good and phoned it in before the crime, the attack could have been avoided.
Anyone with information is urged to call the Crime Stoppers tip line at 802-864-6666 or toll-free at 800-427-8477.