(This article was first published in the September 26, 2013 edition of the Vermont Standard.)
By Katy Savage
HARTLAND — Amy Wisehart walked into the Hartland Public Library on Thursday morning to find the glass of her office door smashed and the door to the Juvenile Room broken. Two digital cameras were missing — one that was sitting on her desk and another that was in her desk drawer.
“We’re very frustrated,” Wisehart said. “It’s sad this keeps happening.”
The break-in was the third at the library since May and one of three that occurred in Hartland last week. Vandals also tried to break into the Itty Bitty Laundry Mat on Route 5. According to the laundromat’s owner, Larry Frazer, around 2 a.m. last Thursday, thieves cut the hinge on the coin changer and tried to open the soap machine. There was also a break-in at the bottle barn beside the library, where the Boy Scouts store recyclables from their bottle drives.
“You’ve got to be pretty desperate,” Selectboard Chair Gordon Richardson said.
Richardson said he’s surprised by the number of recent break-ins in Hartland.
“I don’t know what’s happening,” he said.
Some progress has been made, according to state police. Two arrests were made after the Windsor Police Department made a traffic stop on State Street of the same vehicle that was reported as being used by the suspects leaving the scene of the break-ins.
Makenzie Delaney, 17, and Timmothy Murphy, Jr., 18, both of Windsor, were arrested for the Itty Bitty Laundry Mat thefts. Frazer said vandals have been trying to pry open his coin changer for months and they nearly succeeded last week. No money was taken from the coin changer but it was busted open so he could see the quarters inside.
“They would have gotten it open if they had not been caught,” Frazer said. “It’s getting a little bit frustrating.”
Frazer has owned the laundromat since 1986 and has had break-ins before, but never as many as he’s had in the past six months.
The laundromat was formerly open 24 hours a day. But Frazer said he’s about to cut his hours. The laundromat will no longer be open at night and he plans to install video cameras.
“People trying to rob me from now on they better be smiling because I’m going to have their picture,” he said.
Frazer said it will cost him about $3,000 to replace the coin changer and $2,000 to replace the detergent machine.
State police are still investigating the incident at the library and don’t know if all the break-ins that night are related. At the library, about $50 cash has been stolen in the past four months and three digital cameras have disappeared. Earlier this year, there were also instances of books being burned on the library porch.
Constable James Dow was on vacation when the break-ins occurred, but he’s heard there’s been a rash of break-ins all across the Upper Valley.
See BREAK-INS – Page 6A
From Page 1A “People really need to be vigilant,” Dow said. “They need to make sure that they lock things, make sure that their windows are closed.”
The cameras at the library will cost about $200 to replace. Wisehart now keeps the lights on outside the library all night. She said she plans to approach the Selectboard for a $1,500 alarm system.
Delaney and Murphy were arrested for the laundromat break-in and charged with unlawful mischief, unlawful trespass and false information. They were ordered to appear in court Nov. 5. Sgt. Eric Hudson, said there may be more arrests made after investigation of the two other incidents are complete.
Although the monetary value that the library has lost isn’t huge, the distress the break-ins have caused is.
“It makes it feel like the library isn’t safe anymore,” Wisehart said.
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