"You're putting everything out there. You're at Miss America!" Katie Levasseur said.
Exciting, a bit nerve-wracking and magical: that's how Katie Levasseur remembers the night she competed in the Miss America pageant.
"There's no moment like that," she said.
The Northeast Kingdom farm girl turned beauty queen won the state title last year and scholarship money for UVM. She stepped onto the national stage in January as Miss Vermont, donning her favorite evening gown and jewelry designed to match.
"Not only were these items given to me, but they were custom designs," Levasseur said. "They're one of a kind."
She's still got the gown and her Miss Vermont crown, but her jewels have been swiped.
"It looks like glamour jewelry, used in pageantry, is missing at this point," Burlington Deputy Police Chief Andi Higbee said.
The jewelry was taken during a car break-in on Orchard Terrace in Burlington sometime late Wednesday or early Thursday. It was packed away in a suitcase. In the burglary process three pageant winners in Vermont were victimized.
"How we do things in Vermont is we all help each other," Levasseur explained. "I had loaned the jewelry to a former Miss Vermont, who was helping our brand new Outstanding Teen titleholder prepare for her national competition in a couple of weeks... All of the jewelry was stolen."
Levasseur's jewelry is valued at up to $800. But to her, the pieces are worth much more.
"That I wore these on the Miss Vermont stage when I won and on the Miss America stage when competing for Miss America, it has enormous sentimental value to me, as well," she said.
"Clearly, there's significant sentimental value associated with this jewelry and we want to do what we can to get it back to the rightful owner," Higbee said.
Levasseur knows police have their hands full with bigger crimes and says she sympathizes with other victims.
"You never really think it's going to happen to you and then it does," she said. "I really feel for anyone who's been affected by an uptick in crime and hope we can do something to solve it in the future."
Levasseur plans to visit coin and jewelry shops around the area to see if she can find her stolen pieces.
Police are using the incident to remind people to never leave valuables in the car.
Tuesday, June 18 2013 11:55 PM EDT2013-06-19 03:55:09 GMT
An award winning journalist from Vermont has died.Michael Hastings was killed early Tuesday morning in a car accident in Los Angeles.Hastings was best known for his Rolling Stones article on General StanleyMore >>
Michael Hastings was killed early Tuesday morning in a car accident in Los Angeles.More >>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 11:54 PM EDT2013-06-19 03:54:26 GMT
Bennington Rural Fire Station was packed with people and support for the 15 members recently suspended over their part in an annual stunt. "Do you realize these are the real heroes of America?" askedMore >>
Bennington Rural Fire Station was packed with people and support for the 15 members recently suspended over their part in an annual stunt.More >>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 11:53 PM EDT2013-06-19 03:53:55 GMT
Glen Goodall served in the South Pacific during World War II, now the Williamstown vet is in Washington D.C. for two very special honors.Tuesday marked the 94-year-old's first trip to the nation's capitalMore >>
Glen Goodall served in the South Pacific during World War II, now the Williamstown vet is in Washington DC for two very special honors.More >>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 7:41 PM EDT2013-06-18 23:41:56 GMT
Former Bennington Rural Fire Department chief Joseph Hayes pleaded not guilty Monday to embezzlement charges stemming from a department-sponsored raffle when he was chief. Participants told police theyMore >>
A former chief at the Bennington Rural Fire Department faces embezzlement charges and 16 volunteers are in hot water over another incident. As allegations of misconduct stack up, some residents are worried about their safety.More >>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 7:54 PM EDT2013-06-18 23:54:27 GMT
Court documents indicate New York's Chinese mafia may be involved in prostitution at a Chittenden County spa. Tuesday morning, landlord Thomas Booska pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor charge. A tenantMore >>
A landlord has denied charges related to prostitution at an alleged sex spa in Williston. And court documents indicate New York's Chinese Mafia may be involved in prostitution in Vermont.More >>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 12:13 PM EDT2013-06-18 16:13:18 GMT
A Hopkinton, New York man is behind bars, accused of promoting prostitution. Police say Monday, they searched 60-year-old Dean Lamphere's house and business -- Lamphere's General Trucking and Repair.More >>
A Hopkinton, N.Y., man is behind bars, accused of promoting prostitution.More >>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 10:00 AM EDT2013-06-18 14:00:51 GMT
A New Haven man says he was trying to stop another man from cutting down his neighbor's trees, but police say firing shots wasn't the way to do it. Police say on Sunday, 72-year-old David Milson firedMore >>
A New Haven man says he was trying to stop another man from cutting down his neighbor's trees, but police say firing shots wasn't the way to do it.More >>