KEITH WHITCOMB JR.
SHAFTSBURY -- Two daytime burglaries that struck nearby homes Friday resulted in the loss of sentimental items and prompted one homeowner to offer a reward.
Karen Mellinger, a resident of Glastenbury Road and a Select Board member, told state police that during the morning or early afternoon someone had broken into her home and taken jewelry, silverware, and silver dinnerware.
Bennington County Court Operations Manager Wendy Dickie, of East Road, told police that between 7:45 a.m. and 6 p.m. Friday someone broke into her home and stole jewelry and cash.
Mellinger said in an interview she is offering a $2,500 reward to encourage people with information to come forward.
"It's very frightening to know your house has been walked through," Mellinger said. "It's almost like a sense of grief you go through."
She said she has spoken to her neighbors to warn them and intends to increase her home's security measures.
Dickie said this is the second burglary she has suffered this year, the first was in January. She said both times thieves targeted jewelry and cash, and this time they tried to use her husband's tools to breach his gun safe.
"It really upset me," she said. "They have my mother's engagement ring and she's deceased."
Dickie said she believes the burglaries were planned ahead of time. "They knew our work schedules," she said. "They've got a game plan, it's not random." She added that she will also be doing more toward home security.
In an email regarding the Dickie burglary, police said a black Nissan truck with an extended cab was reported to them as being of interest.
Anyone with information is asked to call police at 802-442-5421.
Information can also be submitted anonymously through www.vtips.info or by texting to the number 274637 (CRIMES) the keyword VTIPS followed by the information.
Burglaries and similar crimes have been reported in greater numbers recently, specifically in more rural parts of the county. Dorset in particular has dealt with the issue by organizing a neighborhood watch program where some 80 people turned out for an organizational meeting in September.
State police have said they've taken steps to combat the problem but need community members to be vigilant and to report suspicious activity immediately.