Addison County residents want answers following break-ins
ADDISON, Vt. -
New information Tuesday night about a rash of break-ins in Addison County after more than 100 homes were been burglarized.
"They're not going to look like the stereotypical person that we think of when we watch television," said Det. Sgt. Robert Patten of the Vermont State Police.
How to spot a robber? That's not a comfortable conversation for a group of Addison county residents. Many have had their homes burglarized.
"Somebody's going to get hurt. They're nonviolent offenders now but what's it going to take until they become violent?" asked Addison resident Randy Stearns.
Since the beginning of the year, state police have investigated 105 burglaries in Addison County, which is on track to meet or exceed the number from 2012. Police say burglaries are on the rise across the state as a way to fund drug addictions.
"They lie, they cheat, they steal, they take from their mothers, they take from their brothers, they take from retail theft," said Col. Thomas L'Esperance of the Vermont State Police.
Police say to stop the crime attitudes needs to switch from fighting the war on drugs to fighting a war on addiction and help criminals get treatment.
"I'm here to tell you today that we cannot arrest our way out of the drug problem in this state. We don't have enough jails, we have enough police officers," explained Vermont Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn.
But authorities also made it clear they're not going to coddle criminals.
"We want the message loud and clear, if they break into your home, we're going to come after you, we're going to find you and we're going to put you in jail. And then the system needs to do something else so that a year from now we don't arrest the same person for breaking into the same house," L'Esperance said to the crowd.
Police made a key arrest Aug. 1 when they found a cache of stolen goods in 37-year-old Raymond Ritchie's Addison home. So far, 23 of the more than 100 victims have been able to recover their belongings.
"We were able with our most recent arrests to begin to close out those cases. We really are optimistic that we're going to be able to close out the majority of those," Vt. State Police Lt. Gary Genova said.
But for some residents, it's not enough.
"This guy had a huge rap sheet and yet no one went after him or looked to get after him until long after he had how many robberies? Why did it take so long to identify this guy, who was our neighbor?" asked one resident.
"Thirteen percent of burglaries get solved across the country. Know why?" asked L'Esperance. "No one is home, not too many witnesses. If there's a homicide in the area everyone comes out of the woodwork to help us out," he explained.
Since arresting Ritchie, there have only been two reported burglaries in Addison County. But police know that as long as there is growing drug problem, the burglaries could continue. It's unclear if Ritchie will be facing more charges and police are still asking anyone with information to come forward.
Thursday, March 6 2014 11:41 PM EST2014-03-07 04:41:04 GMT
The Randolph man who admitted to murdering his niece in 2008 will be sentenced this spring. In August Michael Jacques struck a deal with federal prosecutors. He gave up his right to an appeal and pleadedMore >>
The Randolph man who admitted to murdering his niece in 2008 will be sentenced this spring.More >>
Thursday, March 6 2014 11:40 PM EST2014-03-07 04:40:13 GMT
It's a real estate deal between UVM and the Queen City that could end up kicking some non-profits to the curb. The Burlington School District voted Thursday night on half of the multi-million dollar deal.More >>
It's a real estate deal between UVM and the Queen City that could end up kicking some non-profits to the curb.More >>
Thursday, March 6 2014 7:53 PM EST2014-03-07 00:53:09 GMT
'Tis the season-- as winter winds down frost heaves and potholes arrive. The ups and downs of the 2014 winter can be seen and felt. No route or road is spared. And just adding to the frustration-- theMore >>
The deep freeze is making for some rough roads across our region and it's also contributing to a fuel shortage. Shelby Cashman has more.More >>
Thursday, March 6 2014 7:56 PM EST2014-03-07 00:56:36 GMT
The pothole problem knows no boundaries. Our neighbors to the north are also dealing with rough roads. The Quebec Transportation Ministry budgeted $260 million for winter road maintenance. But crews haveMore >>
Our neighbors to the north are also dealing with rough roads.More >>
Thursday, March 6 2014 4:23 PM EST2014-03-06 21:23:33 GMT
Investigators now say a fire that damaged a student housing complex at St. Michael's College was not caused by the building's heating system. The fire last month damaged a row of townhouses. All of theMore >>
Investigators now say a fire that damaged a student housing complex at St. Michael's College was not caused by the building's heating system.More >>
Thursday, March 6 2014 4:50 PM EST2014-03-06 21:50:24 GMT
Vermont police say a New Hampshire woman was driving drunk with two kids in her car. The incident happened Wednesday at the Intersection of 1-91 and Route 302 in Newbury, Vt. Vermont state police sayMore >>
Vermont police say a New Hampshire woman was driving drunk with two kids in her car.More >>