According to a follow up report by the Vermont State Police, the houses were unoccupied at the time of the burglary. A subsequent investigation revealed several neighbors reported suspicious activity that consisted of hearing glass breaking, hearing loud bangs and possibly seeing flashlights inside one of the residences, but none of this activity was reported at the time to the state police.
"I do not know why people would not call the State Police after hearing or seeing suspicious activity," said Rob Gaiotti, Dorset's town manager. "This is something the town and State Police are working hard to stress the importance to residents; if residents see or hear anything suspicious they should immediately call 442-5421 (the phone number for the state police's Shaftsbury barracks, whose coverage area includes Dorset) and inform the state police. Residents should not worry about a 'false alarm.' If something seems suspicious they should make the call. These calls are a very important part of giving the State Police the information they need to resolve these incidents."
The two attempted burglaries highlight a trend around Dorset as well as other surrounding towns, and these concerns about have prompted a meeting that will be held at the Dorset Church on Church Street on Wednesday, Sept. 19 to discuss the recent string of break-ins in the Dorset area, and plot a strategy to counter them, which includes a community crime watch program.
"This will only work if people participate," said Susan Weiss, a resident of Dorset who is helping to get this program underway.
The organizers will be basing their program on a manual created by the Department of Justice, said Weiss. The manual discusses how to create a appropriate community watch program as well as the history and how the local government will be involved.
Under the program, the participants will be split up into teams based on geographic location and neighborhood. The teams will consist of residents from about 15 homes with a leader to oversee the team.
At the meeting sign-up sheets will be passed around for anyone who is willing to participate in the program.
When asked if Dorset is in need of a Community Crime Watch Program, Gaiotti said it would be a step in the right direction.
"Unfortunately these burglaries are not unique to Dorset, as neighboring communities are dealing with this same issue," Gaiotti said. "This program will be important for Dorset residents as it will allow neighbors to communicate with each other and will increase the chance that someone viewing something 'suspicious' will report it immediately to the State Police. This is the critical link to working out a resolution."
Lieutenant Reg Trayah, commander of the Vermont State Police barracks in Shaftsbury, also stressed that local residents should be pro-active in communicating with the state police if they feel something is amiss or out of the ordinary.
"It's very difficult to me, and maybe it has something to do with the line of work I'm in, to understand why somebody wouldn't call," he said. "We need the community to help solve this problem."
Determining the cause behind the recent round of burglaries is not clear-cut, but there may be a narcotics and drug link, Trayah said.
"I'm not saying it is, but it could be drug-related," he said. "They have been breaking in and stealing small items that are easy to sell quickly, common of drug-related crimes."
State Police will be present at the meeting on Sept. 19 to answer questions and inform residents about how they can assist law enforcement with this problem. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. Anyone with questions beforehand can contact the State Police Barracks in Shaftsbury at 802-442-5421 or the Town Offices at 802-362-4571, ext. 3.