Spate of burglaries plague Vermont communities

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WAITSFIELD, Vt. (WCAX) Police are looking for leads to solve a string of burglaries hitting locally owned business across our region.

As locally owned shops try to keep up with the busy holiday season, some are dealing with extra stressors -- burglaries.

"It's scary that there are people that are preying on good people who are trying to run businesses," said Pat Apigian, a concerned shopper in the Mad River Valley.

In Waitsfield, state police are investigating a string of break-ins at the Mad River Green Shopping Center, where at least four businesses were targeted. While an embroidery shop just had a damaged door, a café had cash and their backroom safe stolen for the third time in eight years.

"They're not buying Christmas presents. I think it's self motivated, looking for drug money," Apigian said.

Police have not yet identified any suspects, but they want the public to see a video recorded in the shopping center. It shows someone, with a covered face and crowbar, walking along a storefront Thursday around 1 a.m., just hours before the break-ins were discovered.

"You're going to get ran out of our town if you try to do that, you know?" said Nick Mayo of Waitsfield. Locals say they hope whoever is responsible gets caught. "Destroying a kind of small, tightly-knit community that is usually full of pretty honest people."

But Waitsfield is not the only community grumbling with a Grinch. In nearby Barre, Ericka Clark has owned a thrift shop for nearly five years. She says she's never dealt with burglaries until this week, when her store had two within 24-hours. "Fast, quick grab for money -- for cash," she said. "I'm already trying to help everybody be able to afford things in their lives that they couldn't normally do on a regular basis, and when they steal for me, that's stealing from everybody else -- including my own family."

Clark says the suspect or suspects damaged her doors and windows before stealing some cash -- and her sense of security.

Authorities in Barre say other businesses, and even some churches, have also been the target of burglaries. If you have any information that may be able to help them solve these cases, police would like to hear from you.