A violent attack in the middle of the night -- police say a 72-year-old was robbed and pistol whipped inside his Fairground Road home in Springfield. The incident happened last week and police are still looking for those responsible.
"Two subjects forced their way into the residence and they ended up stealing some money. He was also assaulted with a handgun," said Springfield Police Chief Douglas Johnston. The 72-year-old assault victim is recovering from his injuries.
Chief Johnston said the case appears to be an isolated incident, but would not elaborate. Violence is nothing new to this community and police say it's often fueled by gangs and drugs. "I would say it is an epidemic of heroin in Springfield. And it's not just in Springfield, it is in the surrounding community. People are coming in from out-of-state. They are hooking up with local people here and from there they are distributing the product," Chief Johnston said.
"It's really, really frustrating," said Sue Barnes, who grew up in Springfield and now works for Southeastern Vermont Community Action, an outreach organization that helps low income residents. "Since I was 5-years-old I've been here and this was always a thriving thriving town," she said.
But she says the town has gone down hill. Her thrift store recently had a security system installed after it was robbed. "I think it is a lot of people that are not Vermonters that are coming up. With the state buildings here and the prison being here, it brings a lot of outsiders," she said.
Police in Springfield are asking for the public's help to fight the problem. Officers say tips, even anonymous ones, can help crack a case and put criminals behind bars where they belong.