On February 1, 2023

Local police see significant increase in crime

Killington Police responded to Vail Road on Dec. 18 after someone broke a backseat window, took two vintage guitars and sold them to Be Music in Rutland. On Dec. 28, the police responded to Killington Market and Deli for an attempted theft of beer. A few days later, two Visa credit cards were stolen from the back of an unlocked vehicle on Priscilla Lane in Killington and used to purchase $630 worth of food at Price Chopper in Rutland. On Jan. 2, an unlocked vehicle was stolen from Rocky Ridge Road. 

Within the first three weeks of 2023, police received calls of a backpack, luggage, a purse, spare change and other items being stolen from vehicles.

Killington police report seeing a significant jump in crime. Police responded to 11 calls of theft from a vehicle in the first month of 2023. Last year, there were nine thefts in total from a car and the year before that, there were just five thefts reported. 

“That’s something new this winter, we’ve not seen it to that extent in the past,” said Montgomery, who has been a police officer in the town for the past 23 years. 

Montgomery said people walk into parking lots and driveways, checking for unlocked doors and steal anything they can find. 

Police arrested one transient person staying at Val Roc and Happy Bear Motel, which are housing homeless people under the state’s voucher program. But Montgomery believes most of the crime is coming from two different couples. 

“I would say it’s mostly the same people over and over again for the same crimes. And it’s as frustrating for the police as it is for the victim,” Montgomery said.

Most of the people avoid jail time.

Police caught repeat offenders Nicholas Seck, 40, and his partner, Michelle Seck, 44, both of Rutland, after Nicholas Seck was caught selling stolen guitars to Be Music in Rutland, where he was paid by check. Police caught Michelle Seck with a refrigerator strapped to her roof in Rutland — an item police believe she bought at Home Depot with a stolen credit card. Both were issued citations to appear in court on Feb. 27.

Meanwhile, Trevor Vandenburgh, 32, and Raven Blanchard, 26, both of Rutland, who each faced multiple charges in Killington and Rutland, were involved in a stabbing over the weekend, in which Vandenburgh was killed.  

Rutland police charged Brandon McRae, 36, with second-degree murder for the killing of  Vandenburg in the area of Water and State streets in Rutland on Saturday, Jan. 28. 

Vandenburghh and Blanchard messaged McRae on Facebook to buy cocaine, VTDigger reported, citing a statement Blanchard gave to police in an affidavit.

Blanchard told officers there was an argument over the quantity and price of the cocaine, which erupted into a fight between Vandenburgh and McRae at a trailer on Water Street, VTDigger reported, according to Billings’ affidavit. Blanchard said McRae attacked Vandenburgh. As she tried to stop him, she was hit in the face. 

McRae pleaded not guilty to the charges on Jan. 30 in Rutland County Superior criminal court.

“They’re not new to what they’ve been doing,” Montgomery said.

The charges came as the families asked for help on Facebook. 

McRae, a repeat offender, was arrested a year ago for failure to appear in court on original charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and criminal threatening. He was held on $1,000 bail. 

“It’s not doing any favors by not getting these people mandatory treatments,” said Montgomery.

Montogmery also suggested that  the charges aren’t significant enough. Larceny and embezzlement where the property stolen does not exceed $900 in value carries a sentence of up to one year or to pay a fine of not more than $1,000 or both under state law. 

To deal with local crime, Montgomery is requesting a $296,431 budget on Town Meeting Day, an increase from last year’s budget of $205,574 and around $150,000 more than the budget approved by voters two years ago. The Killington Police Department has three full-time officers and Montgomery hopes to add a fourth next year. He said the additional funding will be used for salary and fuel expenses.

“It takes a lot of time to follow up and write the affidavits or write a search warrant,” he said. “It does put a strain.”

He said the area is challenging in the winter, when Killington sees 20,000 people on a weekend.

“It’s larger than Rutland city,” Montgomery said.

Montgomery is also reenergizing a neighborhood watch, an initiative he started a few years ago to deal with theft from vacant second homes in the summer. 

A community watch leader acts as a liaison between the community and the police to report crime.

“One good thing about the community growing is a lot of these properties are being occupied,” he said. 

Police are reminding people to remove keys and valuables from vehicles and lock cars. 

If you see something suspicious, you can call the police at 802-422-3200.

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