State police probe thefts of sugaring equipment

BRISTOL — Vermont State Police said they’ve identified suspects in connection with thefts and vandalism targeting multiple sugarworks in Bristol, Lincoln, Cornwall and other Addison County locations during the past three weeks.
Trooper Brett Flansburg on Tuesday confirmed the list of victims includes Mayer Maple Products off Route 116 in Bristol, as well as smaller, residential sugaring operations.
Flansburg said he was aware of five sugarworks cases currently under investigation by officials at the VSP’s New Haven barracks.
The reported thefts in this latest round of sugarworks cases have been small, involving pumps, empty drums and other related sugaring equipment, according to Flansburg. Some items were stolen from inside sugarhouses, some of which were unlocked; other items were laying around outside, he added.
“We think it’s someone trying to build their own sugaring operation,” Flansburg said.
Most of the stolen items have been valued at $200 or less, according to Flansburg, who believes there’s more than one culprit. That’s because some of the stolen items have been too heavy for one person to lift.
State police have not generated any press releases to date on these individual thefts; the Independent only learned of the criminal activity on Sunday, March 25, from a person with direct knowledge of one of the crimes.
Flansburg said state police had hoped to minimize publicity about these crimes as part of their ongoing investigation.
This is the second major wave of thefts/vandalisms to hit Addison County-based sugarworks during the past five months. A more substantial rash of sugarworks-related thefts occurred around last Thanksgiving and drew statewide and national headlines.
Flansburg is encouraging maple syrup producers to set up surveillance equipment and to be vigilant about strange people or vehicles seen on or near their property. Anyone with information about the thefts should call Vermont State Police at 388-4919.
John Flowers is at [email protected].

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