STAMFORD, Vt. — A Connecticut couple are accusing a Bennington man of stealing $40,000 worth of lumber from their wooded property - four years after the alleged crime was committed.
Robert Kobelia, 57, has been cited to appear in Vermont District Court in Bennington on Jan. 26 on a charge of grand larceny.
Lynn and Walter Nightingale of Bolton, Conn., filed a complaint with state police late last year, saying they'd discovered in 2008 that the property had been logged four years before, sometime during January or February 2004, without their consent.
They had reportedly contacted the Kobelia, owner of Northeast Wood Products, who told them that he oversaw the operation, but thought they had a verbal agreement. The Nightingales' told state police they did discuss the possibility of having their land logged, but out of all the bids given to them, Kobelia's was the lowest, and they decided not to have their land logged.
They hired a forestry consultant, who estimated the value of the standing lumber, as well as a private attorney. State police received a report from the consultant as well as e-mail and faxed correspondence from Kobelia to the victim's attorney, which was used to establish probable cause that a crime had been committed.
Kobelia, 57, was interviewed Dec. 31 at the Shaftsbury barracks. According to police, Kobelia said he felt as though there was a verbal agreement between he and the victim. He acknowledged that he never paid the victims for the logs removed, and stated that was it was because of a billing error after a computer crash. He told troopers that he is currently unable to pay Nightingales.
The forestry consultant placed the value of the logs taken from the victim's property at $40,601.07. During the interview, Kobelia maintained that he knows he has to pay the victims for what was taken, but disputed the amount quoted, and told state police that all of his assets are now in foreclosure.
CLARKSBURG, Mass. — Your Stamford/Clarksburg Community Watch Group is looking for volunteers.
We need your help. We can't do this with out you!
Become a volunteer and join the Neighborhood Watch Group official committee. Be part of this volunteer group and help out your community and protect your home and your neighbor's. It is easy and rewarding work that will keep you informed.
To sign-up, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, contact number and how you would like to volunteer by Jan. 4, 2010.
We are forming an official volunteer committee. We will meet to construct our basic organization before our next scheduled open Community Watch meeting on Saturday, Jan. 16, at 1 p.m. at Stamford (Vt.) School.
Question: What do I need to do as a Neighborhood Crime Watch volunteer?
Volunteers help set meeting dates/locations and attend community and committee meetings, promote meetings and raise awareness, make and distribute fliers, sign-up for e-mail alerts, organize meetings and set the agenda, contribute ideas for the group's success, type minutes, organize refreshments/food, help design Web site sections and additions, come to meetings early to set up chairs and tables, etc.
Sign-up to do as much or as little as you can. We appreciate any and all residents who are willing to help.
Want to know about the latest break-in/burglary in your town? Come to the meeting. Find us out on Facebook at Stamford Vermont Crime Watch (which includes Clarksburg news).
We held our second Stamford/Clarksburg Crime Watch meeting. Clarksburg Police Chief Michael Williams addressed the group of 20 serious and committed residents. Great information was given out about the latest confirmed break-in/burglary on East Road in Clarksburg that occurred yesterday (Friday, Dec. 11).
Members are getting more organized and the next Community Watch meeting is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 16, at 1 p.m. at the Stamford, Vt.) School. We expect a big turnout at the next meeting, because attendees said they were committed to making their community aware and getting involved. Signs will be posted at Billmont's Country Store in Stamford and the Clarksburg Town Hall. All newspapers will be contacted as well as all the schools.
The meeting agenda included a review of key points raised at the first meeting; a handout on how to form a neighborhood watch; a request for volunteers; information on a reward related to a Clarksburg break-in and a handout on suspicious behavior and activity; and an update on the new Web site, www.TownCrimeWatch.com, from which 10 e-mail alerts have been sent since the first meeting.
Volunteers are needed to help set meeting dates/locations and attend, promote meetings and raise awareness, make and distribute fliers, sign-ups for email alerts, organize meetings and set the agenda, contribute to ideas for the group's success, type minutes and organize refreshments.
To report information, leads and tips to police, contact the non-emergency numbers:
Vermont State Police: 802-442-5421
Clarksburg Police: 413-663-7795
Editor: Meeting attendees are welcome to share what they learned by posting below. We've also been told, unofficially, that a break-in occurred in the town of Florida two weeks ago. Thanks to the Crime Watch for helping us keep everyone updated.
Clarksburg and Stamford, Vt., residents can now keep up with local crime-watch events through a new Web site, Neighborhood Watch.
The site includes feeds of a Facebook page created shortly after several reported burglaries in the two towns, contact information for the two town's crime watch groups, how to report a crime and tips to prevent becoming a victim.
To post to the site, you must become a fan of Town Crime Watch on Facebook.
According to a post on the site, Clarksburg Community Watch members are planning a $1,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of what they believe is a second burglar.
Police say Stefan Veremko of Pittsfield is connected to multiple break-ins in the county, including at least two of the four recent ones in Clarksburg. His girlfriend, Tara Malloy, a former Clarksburg resident, has been cooperating with police and is expected to be charged as well.
Vermont State Police say Veremko will also be charged with two break-ins in Readsboro, two in Searsburg and one in Stamford. Stamford has had two recent break-ins.
A number of Clarksburg residents believe that another person is responsible for those burglaries so far not connected to Veremko.