KEITH WHITCOMB JR.
BENNINGTON -- A Cambridge, N.Y., woman has been charged with her alleged involvement in a 2008 burglary during which a safe containing $24,000 was stolen from a home in Shaftsbury.
Tiffany Thurston, 24, pleaded not guilty Monday to a felony charge of burglary. She was released on conditions she not have contact with the alleged victims.
According to an affidavit by Vermont Detective Trooper Todd Wilkins, on Jan. 18 he began investigating a burglary that was reported to have taken place on Nov. 24, 2008. Former Trooper Tim Newton had first been assigned the case, and it was picked up by Detective Sgt. Tyler Burgess.
Troopers learned that entry to the home’s basement was gained by someone having smashed a window. A three foot by three foot safe was then dragged out of the home.
Mary Lou Jamieson, the owner of the home, said the burglary happened while she was staying the night at a friend’s house and her husband was away at deer camp. She suspected her niece, Kristy Morse, 24, was involved because Morse and other family members had attempted to break into the home a few years ago. She also said she suspected Trenton McCray, 24, may have had something to do with the break-in.
Morse and McCray are listed as co-defendants in the case and warrants have been issued for their arrest. William Furey is another co-defendant, but no warrant has been issued for him.
The safe contained about $24,000 plus some personal papers, Mary Lou Jamieson told police.
In December of 2008, Mary Loud Jamieson and her husband, John "Jack" Jamieson, spoke to police once more. John Jamieson showed police a shoe print left in the dust of his garage that he examined and subsequently spent a lot of time in a shoe store examining tread patterns. He said he believed the shoe was from a Nike sneaker, between size 12 and 13.
Police learned from another member of the Jamieson family that McCray had been seen at a party wearing all new clothes, including Nike sneakers, and had purchased beer despite being unemployed. Through this other family member, police also learned that McCray had a substantial amount of cash and marijuana. They also learned that Thurston’s vehicle had needed repair work as if something heavy had been dropped on it.
Thurston was approached by police and told them she knew McCray and Morse were involved, but did not speak any further.
On Jan. 18, Wilkins wrote that he met with John Jamieson who said he had been investigating the case on his own over the past few years and learned from a relative that Thurston had driven McCray and Morse to his house, and that the safe was then taken to Morse’s brother, Furey, who helped open it. He said he learned the money was split between the three, with Thurston receiving none of it.
Jamieson told police that he put up signs around the Cambridge, N.Y., area and eventually was able to recover the safe at a transfer station. The safe appeared to have been cut into using torches.
Wilkins wrote that he once again went to Thurston and told her he knew her involvement was limited, but she was still reluctant to speak to him. Wilkins then spoke to State’s Attorney Erica Marthage about possibly not seeking jail time for Thurston if she cooperated, to which Marthage agreed.
Thurston did speak to police in February and said she was afraid of Morse because of threats she had received in the past. She said she drove McCray and Morse to the Jamieson house where they went inside and came out with the safe. She said she drove them, with the safe, back to the mobile home they lived in. She said there was talk of Morse wanting her brother to help open it, but she did not know what happened to the safe after that.
Furey denied being involved.
Police spoke to Morse in May at her home in Brunswick, N.Y. and she denied being involved and refused to speak with police any further.
Wilkins spoke to McCray at a half way house in Glens Falls, N.Y., where he is receiving drug addiction treatment. Wilkins wrote that he told McCray that Morse had told police the burglary was McCray’s idea and that he forced her to do it in order to repay a debt. Wilkins wrote that he did not believe Morse and asked McCray for the truth. McCray said the burglary was Morse’s idea, but he was not forced. He said Morse broke the window on the home’s door and showed him where the safe was while he helped her drag it out.
McCray told police that they took the safe to Furey who used a power drill to get inside the safe. He said he was given $1,000 and claimed that Thurston and Morse stuffed much of the rest into their pockets and purses. He said Furey was also given some of the money.
Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.