A recent string of robberies have residents in a number of Central Vermont communities fed up and taking action. Crowds packed a Barre City pub Thursday night where a push to find the criminals responsible was the main thing on tap.
In Barre City people are on edge.
"They're scared, eventually this guy might kill somebody," said Brain Harris of Barre City.
And concerned residents are taking action.
"This is our community and we want it back," said Cheryl Anderson of Barre City.
Wednesday night city police say an armed robber struck the Rite Aid on West Main Street. The crime comes within weeks of another cluster of convenience store and pharmacy stickups.
In some of the cases the suspect has been dubbed the "blue-tape bandit," and police released surveillance footage of him holding up the Quality Market and Medicine Shoppe just down the road.
"I don't like it at all but it's tough times, there are a lot of desperate people out there," said Harris.
Since October police say there have been a total of nine robberies in Barre City, Barre Town and Berlin.
"I don't think the police can do this all themselves, I think we have to be active as a community," said Anderson.
Thursday night more than 50 people packed the Cornerstone Pub and Brewery in Barre City to brainstorm ways to catch the Central Vermont crooks, and pool together thousands in reward money for tips leading to a conviction.
"It is a very small police department that is working very hard but can't be everywhere at once. Our goal is to just have people be vigilant and keep their eyes open," said Rich McSheffrey of Cornerstone Pub and Brewery.
Barre City Police Chief Tim Bombardier told folks the best thing they can do to help is to stay alert, report suspicious behavior and try to take good mental notes it they witness a crime going down. It could help investigators solve a case.
"We don't want people advocating that they think their staff has to take action against somebody that comes in," said Bombardier.
The chief says if you find yourself in the middle of a robbery you should not resist or threaten to use a weapon.
"There is nothing in the register worth getting hurt over," said Chief Bombardier.
Bombardier is confident at least some of the crimes are connected to drugs, and like the folks at the forum he's urging the public to come forward with clues-- large or small.
"If you have a friend who knows something about this, do what you can to encourage them to reach out to the detectives, call Barre City PD," said Chief Bombardier.
"If this is a family member of yours turn them in. If it is a friend or loved one, this person needs help," said McSheffrey.
And with a community now working to crack these cases together many suspect it won't take long.
"I wouldn't do it much more because eventually you are going to get caught, and when you do you're going to end up in jail," said Harris.
So far the community has raised more than $13,000 in reward money. If you know anything about any of these crimes you're asked to call police.
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