ADDISON — Organizers of a Feb. 7 community forum devoted to concerns about the recent wave of home break-ins in Addison and surrounding towns said 156 local residents showed up to listen to law enforcement officials, who detailed patrols and several recent arrests.
Crime forum organizer Don Jochum said earlier this week about 50 residents who showed up last week at the Addison Central School forum also expressed interest in forming a neighborhood watch group, and that he is working on scheduling a follow-up organizational meeting.
Vermont State Police Lt. Gary Genova reported at the forum that earlier in the day before the Thursday gathering VSP made arrests in two cases that he said are possibly related to the series of burglaries in Addison — more than 15 reported in 2013 — and surrounding towns.
On Monday, Genova sent press releases to the Independent detailing the arrests, both made in Waltham following burglaries in that town.
In one case, according to the press release, VSP acted on information provided by the Vergennes Police Department “regarding multiple burglaries in Waltham” and arrested four people following a joint investigation with the city department.
Cited for burglary were Josh Jerger, 25, of Ferrisburgh; Ernest Cushman, 22, and Nicole Hamer, 20, both of Bristol; and Jessica Rochon, 24, of Addison. They were lodged at the Chittenden County Correctional Center for lack of $10,000 bail.
Genova said on Monday the joint investigation resulting in the multiple arrests was ongoing and that further arrests were possible.
In the other case, VSP cited Tyler Flynn of Vergennes, whose age was not provided, for burglary, unlawful trespass and possession of stolen property from three separate incidents. The press release stated as a crime scene a Maple Street Extension home. Flynn was lodged at the same jail for lack of $10,000 bail.
Genova also told the crowd VSP has conducted 34 “targeted patrols” in Addison in the past two months, according to Jochum.
At the forum, Addison selectboard member Joy Pouliot reported that the board has requested the Addison County Sheriff’s Department to step up its patrols until the rash of burglaries ends.
Specifically, according to Jochum, Pouliot said the town has authorized an increase from seven four-hour patrols a week to nine four-hour patrols a week.
Also, this week Rep. Diane Lanpher, D-Vergennes, said she and Sen. Claire Ayer, D-Addison, plan to introduce a bill at the Vermont Legislature that would give law enforcement “additional tools” to combat burglaries.
The bill, Lanpher said, would attack the problem from the fencing end, i.e., where thieves go to sell their stolen goods, by imposing new licensing and record-keeping requirements on many businesses that typically buy and sell jewelry and used items.
As of Tuesday, the legislation was still in draft form, but Lanpher said it was possible it could be filed by the end of the week.