Vermont State Police Log: Residents warned to be on guard for ‘mystery shopper’ mail scam

ADDISON COUNTY — Recently the Vermont State Police at the New Haven barracks were made aware of a “mystery shopper” or “secret shopper” mail scam. In these particular cases, individuals received a letter stating that they had been approved to be a mystery shopper and that the accompanying check was for their first assignment. The letter asks that the individual deposit the check at their bank and withdraw the cash.
The letter continues by stating that the “shopper” is allowed to keep a small portion of the cash to complete their assignment and as a commission. All remaining funds are to be transferred via Money Gram/Walmart RIA Transfer or Western Union to another “agent” listed in the letter.
State police remind the public that although mystery/secret shoppers are paid for conducting assigned shopping tasks, a legitimate company hiring these shoppers will never send a check to the shopper before a task has been completed. Additionally, these companies will never ask you to cash a check and/or send money through Western Union (or a similar service) to an individual.
Separately, state police early this week arrested Kendell Ducharme, 61, Bristol and charged him with sexual assault. Ducharme pleaded innocent to the charge in Addison Superior Court, criminal division, on Tuesday.
The case started on Oct. 29, when VSP detectives assigned to the Bureau of Criminal Investigation were notified of a sexual assault complaint on Estey Road in Bristol. Police report that during the course of a number of interviews and an investigation — assisted by the Department for Children and Families, Addison Children’s Advocacy Center and the Addison County Sheriff’s Department — they learned that Ducharme had engaged in a sexual act with a vulnerable individual. Police took Ducharme into custody, charged him and lodged him at the Marble Valley Regional Correctional Facility for lack of $10,000 bail.
Meanwhile, in the last week of October Vermont State Police cited two different men for drunk driving on Route 7 in Ferrisburgh in separate incidents.
First, on Oct. 27 at approximately 10:08 p.m. a trooper saw several violations and so stopped a vehicle on Route 7. The officer said the driver, identified as Sam Alger, 27, showed signs of impairment. So the trooper screened Alger for driving under the influence, arrested him, took him to the Vergennes Police Department for processing and cited him for DUI.
Then, on Oct. 29 a trooper stopped a Ford truck after observing multiple traffic violations on Monkton Road in Vergennes and Ferrisburgh. After investigating, state police cited Matthew H. Babcock, 28, of Bristol for DUI.
In addition, a Bridport man received his first DUI citation after police stopped the car he was driving on Monkton Road in Ferrisburgh on Oct. 24 at around 8:15 p.m. State police report that a trooper stopped a vehicle driven by 33-year-old Bradley Sandberg after receiving word that the vehicle had crashed into a ditch and then left the scene. Troopers observed the vehicle with significant front-end damage and stopped it. Police noted several indicators of impairment, screened Sandberg and cited him for DUI.
The Vergennes Police Department assisted in all three DUI cases.
In other recent activity, state police troopers:
•  On Oct. 24 at approximately 12:30 p.m. responded to a one-car motor crash on Hamilton Road in Weybridge. Witnesses told police that they saw a blue Subaru Legacy strike a utility pole and leave the scene of the crash via Cave Road. Police ended up citing Joshua Jerger, 29, of Ferrisburgh for leaving the scene of an accident.
•  On Oct. 29 took 34-year-old Tia Woodin of Rutland into custody and cited her for driving with a criminally suspended license, making false reports to a law enforcement officer and identity theft. The charges step from an Aug. 13 incident in which a trooper from the New Haven barracks stopped vehicle for the use of a handheld electronic device on Route 7 in Leicester. Trooper Hein reports that it was later discovered through investigation that Woodin had provided false information at the time of the stop in an effort implicate another for the moving violation. Hein also reported that Woodin also used the same name to commit a misdemeanor in an effort to avoid being arrested.
Woodin is due to answer the charges in Addison Superior Court on Jan. 8, 2018.
•  On Oct. 30 at around 9:15 a.m. stopped a motor vehicle on Delorm Road in Leicester after observing a motor vehicle infraction and cited Christopher Shores, 23, of Middlebury for driving with a criminally suspended license.
Vermont State Police release a daily log of a selection of their activities. In Addison County, those activities included:
•  Oct. 24, directed patrol, Route 7 and Plains Road, Salisbury.
•  Oct. 24, alarm, Button Bay Road, Ferrisburgh.
•  Oct. 24, suspicious person, Lower Notch Road, Bristol.
•  Oct. 24, agency assist, Route 7, New Haven.
•  Oct. 24, citizen assist, Monkton Road, Ferrisburgh.
•  Oct. 25, citizen assist, Plank Road, Bristol.
•  Oct. 25, directed patrol, Route 7, New Haven.
•  Oct. 25, motor vehicle disturbances, River Road, New Haven.
•  Oct. 25, motor vehicle disturbances, Route 7, Ferrisburgh.
•  Oct. 26, suspicious person, Hardscrabble Road, Monkton.
•  Oct. 26, traffic crash, Route 7 at Route 22A, Ferrisburgh.
•  Oct. 27, citizen assist, Davis Road, Monkton.
•  Oct. 27, agency assist, Maple Run Road, Leicester.
•  Oct. 28, directed patrol, Routes 22A and 17, Addison.
•  Oct. 28, traffic hazard, Routes 74 and 30, Cornwall.
•  Oct. 28, suspicious person, Old Hollow Road, Ferrisburgh.
•  Oct. 28, citizen assist, Natural Turnpike, Ripton.
•  Oct. 28, directed patrol, Route 7 and Stage Road in Ferrisburgh.
•  Oct. 28, directed patrol, Route 22A, Addison.
•  Oct. 28, citizen dispute, Otter Creek Lane, Weybridge.
•  Oct. 29, 911 hang up, Mill Road, Lincoln.
•  Oct. 30, alarm, Route 30, Cornwall.
•  Oct. 30, 911 hang up, Old Hollow Road, Ferrisburgh.
•  Oct. 30, traffic hazard, Route 17 and Nancy Lane, New Haven.
•  Oct. 30, alarm, Kelley Cross Road, Salisbury.
•  Oct. 30, welfare check, Wendland Road, Monkton.
•  Oct. 30, vandalism, Carlstrom Road, Bristol.

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