A rash of vehicle break-ins, vehicle thefts and stolen items from autos this past weekend has many Charlotte residents questioning how safe their possessions are in a town where they thought they didn’t need to lock up.
State police said they began to get reports about vehicle thefts and break-ins on Saturday, Oct. 14, according to a press release.
A number of residents also reported on social media the crime spree had touched their property. The incidents appear to have begun on Friday night and lasted through the early hours of Sunday.
At least one similar incident was reported in North Ferrisburgh, police said.
Four unknown male suspects used a stolen credit card from one of the vehicles at a Burlington convenience store. Police released photos of each of the suspects taken by a security camera there.
In the state police’s press release, the tally stood at four vehicles that were stolen between midnight and 2 a.m. on Oct. 14 and seven other vehicles that were broken into. The release said police expected those numbers to go up in Charlotte.
“There were at least two other attempted thefts of a motor vehicle that failed when the suspects attempting to steal the vehicles got stuck on the victims’ yards,” the release said.
A couple of people reported on social media vehicles that appeared to have been stolen that were abandoned in their yards.
Kyra Wegman said her vehicle was unlocked and the doors were wide open the next morning, but nothing was taken. It was disconcerting because she believes she was reading into the wee hours of the morning and awake when her vehicle was rummaged through.
As an ex-Brooklynite, Wegman said it was ironic because nothing bad ever happened to her while she was living there.
“That’s because we locked our doors all the time,” Wegman said. In Charlotte, she and her family have not been diligently locking up.
“We got sort of lulled into a sense of security. You know, the first thing we did in the morning was to go to the hardware store and buy deadbolts,” she said.
A .410 shotgun and a bright-orange flare gun were among items that were stolen in addition to the vehicles, according to the police.
Captain Matt Daley with the Vermont State Police, who lives in Charlotte, said around 2018 there was a crime spree where people’s homes were being broken into and materials, whose price had gone up significantly, like copper, were stolen. This was the biggest crime spree he’d heard about in town since then.
Among locations reported on social media where vehicles were broken into, stolen or abandoned were homes on One Mile Road, Spear Street, Ashe Road, Split Rock Road, Mt. Philo Road, Pease Mountain Road, Vineyard View Drive, Wildwood West, Westin Road in Ferrisburgh and at least three on Greenbush Road.
Daley said the unknown culprits did not get to his home or vehicles. From the wide range of the incidents around town, it was difficult for him to determine a pattern in the thieves’ movements.
“This is a pressing issue that the state police are working on daily,” he said.
The state police reminded people to lock up and to not leave valuable belongings in their vehicles, even if parked at their homes.
Police also asked that anyone who recognizes the four suspects call Trooper Nate Quealy at 802-878-7111. Tips can be made anonymously by texting “VTIPS” to 274637 or at the state police website.