By Eric Francis
A teenage suspect has been nabbed for the rash of break-ins to cars along the streets of Woodstock and Hartford that began a week ago and police expect to make one or two additional arrests before the file is closed.
“The Woodstock folks need to be proud of their officers here. They put in a lot of extra hours to wrap this case up,” Woodstock’s new police chief Robbie Blish said Tuesday, a day after the as-yet unidentified 19-year-old from Hartford was arrested by Woodstock authorities.
“From a law enforcement perspective it’s really quite rare that these kinds of cases are solved, especially so quickly,” Blish noted, adding, “It was just some good police work on the part of the Woodstock officers. I certainly can’t take credit for it. The officers themselves did a great job.”
Because the investigation is on-going and there may be other arrests, Blish said he was withholding the name of the teen for the moment but he noted the youth, “has ties to the Woodstock community but he is living over in Hartford at the moment.”
Blish said the first round of incidents in Woodstock happened last Thursday and then police got a break the next evening when some of the victims chased the culprit into the woods near Rose Hill, getting a good enough look at him to identify him and they passed that information along to police who followed up.
“We are just kind of clearing things up now,” Blish said. “We’ve gotten back some of the property of some of the victims but, because some of the thefts occurred in Hartford, we are not sure yet what property is ours and what is theirs. It will be determined by the state’s attorney whether we can just photograph the property and release it back to the victims once we identify who it belongs to.”
Hartford Deputy Police Chief Lenny Roberts said that the most recent outbreak of cars being rifled through came to police attention just over a week ago beginning with incidents in Quechee and Wilder where things like iPods and DVDs were being taken from parked vehicles.
“There was no damage, just somebody going into vehicles and pawing through and stealing whatever they could find,” Roberts explained, adding, “We do have some that are still unsolved so we are still looking.”
It’s a crime of opportunity in this case,” Woodstock Chief Blish noted. “The kid was walking around trying door handles and the ones that were unlocked got burglarized and the ones that were locked did not. It was that simple.”
“It’s like a partnership with the community,” the chief continued, “We all have to be vigilant and if anybody sees or hears anything suspicious please don’t hesitate to call us because that’s what we are here for. Just use common sense. Lock your cars and doors – I know a lot of people up here pride themselves on the fact that they don’t have to — but the unfortunate reality is that you might be a victim some day. You don’t want to make it easy for somebody.”
This article first appeared in the August 4th print edition of the Vermont Standard.