Police arrest seven in connection with Ferrisburgh break-ins
FERRISBURGH — Vergennes police on Friday morning arrested seven people — four adult men and three minor girls — in connection with a series of break-ins at camps in Ferrisburgh.
The adults arrested are: 19-year-old Seamus C. Doolan of Essex Junction; Brian J. MacKenzie, 18, of South Burlington; Nathan P. Morrill, 20, of Burlington and Matthew J. Shepardson, 21, of Hinesburg. Police issued juvenile citations to the girls and released them into the custody of their parents.
The four men were arraigned Friday afternoon in Burlington at Chittenden Superior Court, criminal division, on one felony count each of unlawful entry of an occupied dwelling. All plead not guilty, and Morrill was held without bail for violating the conditions of release from a previous arrest.
The arrests came after an investigation that began Thursday morning, when officers from the Vergennes Police Department, Vermont State Police and Addison County Sheriff’s Department looked into a report of a burglary at a seasonal cottage on Sleepy Hollow Lane that is currently vacant and on the market for sale.
A real estate agent reported that she had gone to a Sleep Hollow Lane residence and found that someone had entered several residences and burglarized/vandalized them. The real estate agent told police that she confronted three males who she had seen in the residence she was checking, and she left immediately when she saw weapons in the residence.
By the time police arrived the subjects had fled, leaving behind personal items as well as pellet guns and three “older” rifles. While checking the area, authorities discovered that a total of six other camps in the neighborhood had also been entered, with at least one damaged.
Later that day, at a little before 3 p.m., troopers and Vergennes officers responded to a report that two men were casing a dwelling on Tow Path Lane in Ferrisburgh, which is across Otter Creek from Sleepy Hollow Lane. According to a vigilant neighbor, two men were observed peering into windows at the home. Police were able to temporarily detain and identify the subjects, but released them.
Vergennes police cracked the case Friday morning when they returned to the Sleepy Hollow home and found the seven suspects at the same cottage that had been the focus of their first tip. Police seized a number of firearms and pellet guns from the group.
Police also believe the group may be connected to a number of incidents of vandalism in Addison and Chittenden counties on Wednesday, during which store and car windows were shot by pellet guns. According to a Vergennes police press release, late on Wednesday, March 25, storefront and vehicle windows in Ferrisburgh, Vergennes and Addison were shot, apparently by a pellet gun.
Police noted that that evening a vandal or vandals also shot windows in South Burlington and Moriah, N.Y., but at this point cannot confirm the incidents are connected.
On Friday police said it was unknown if the burglaries to the camps on Sleepy Hollow Road and the suspicious incident on Tow Path Lane were related. Anyone with information regarding any of these incidents is asked to contact the Vermont State Police, New Haven barracks, at 802-388-4919 or Vergennes police at 802-877-2201.
Editor's note: This story was updated after its original posting to corrected the fact that it was Vergennes police, not state troopers, who arrested the seven suspects.