An Addison man arrested for allegedly swiping thousands of dollars in stolen goods from people's homes could face life behind bars. Police are trying to reunite the stolen heirlooms with their rightful owners. Monday night victims who filed a police report were invited to the New Haven barracks to take a peek.
"But it breaks your heart to think that your wedding ring would be melted down," Michele Kelly said.
Michele and Charles Kelly say it has been months since a burglar targeted their Addison home and the couple is still missing several sentimental heirlooms.
"My wedding rings, an emerald ring my husband had given me, all the gifts my children and grandchildren had given me over 40 years. Things of my mother's, my grandmother's, our college rings," Kelly said.
The Kellys aren't alone. Police believe the same thief may have broken into more than 100 homes in Addison, Rutland, and Chittenden counties.
Police say 37-year-old Raymond Ritchie is linked to many of those break-ins. The Addison man is facing six felony counts of burglary and possession of stolen property. Police say this is one of the biggest theft investigations they have encountered.
Detective Kevin Lane of the Vermont State Police said, "This is the first one that I've been involved with. And the reason why we talked about this and the reason why we are doing it here is just by the sheer mass amount of items that we have."
More than 100 victims were invited to the New Haven State Police Barracks on Monday, to see if they recognized any of the recovered items.
Police say more than $10,000 of stolen goods were recovered from Ritchie's home. Half of that has been claimed by 54 victims. But many, left empty-handed.
"Even if there had been a guitar case or something. So, I guess I knew it was a long shot. But I don't know, I just felt like I needed to come," said Susan Humphrey of Weybridge.
Humphrey says it wasn't just about the money. Her husband's Martin Guitar was just one of the many irreplaceable items still missing. She -- and other victims -- say they have been living in fear.
"Just going to sleep at night afterward, knowing that some thief was standing two feet from out bed, going through our personal things," Charles Kelly said.
Ritchie's record makes him eligible as a habitual offender, meaning he could spend life in prison. News, police say, should allow some of his alleged victims to breathe easier.
"In my mind, you know they know what they left, and how easy it was to do it once. And so the fear is that they might come back," Humphrey said.
Leaving Humprey still searching for answers and wondering who broke into her home. People who think they may have been a victim or would like to view the recovered items, should contact the New Haven State Police barracks.
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