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Clarksburg Crime Watch Offers Reward

Staff reports

The Clarksburg Crime Watch wants to catch a thief and is putting up $1,000 reward to find him or her.

The town was hit by a half-dozen burglaries from September to the beginning of November; most are believed to be the work of Stefan Veremko, a Pittsfield man charged recently in connection of string break-ins running from Southern Vermont to South County.

A number of Clarksburg residents, however, are convinced Veremko wasn't working alone or that a second burglar was working the same territory. Several members of the crime watch, who want to remain anonymous, are offering the reward in hopes of catching the person or persons - and returning residents' peace of mind.

The reward will be given to anyone who comes forward with information leading to the arrest and conviction of any person or persons responsible for committing the recent break-in and burglary crimes, particularly one on Mountain View Drive that occurred on the afternoon of Oct. 31.

Residents are asked to call 413-663-7795 with any information they can provide to solve the remaining break-in case (possibly cases) not solved.

In order to claim the reward, you must (1) provide information to the law-enforcement agency that leads to the arrest and conviction of the party responsible for the crime and (2) submit a claim for a reward to Police Chief Michael Williams, who will contact the community watch members on your behalf.

In the event that two or more individuals provide information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for said crimes, the reward will be apportioned between them as determined appropriate by the watch group. The reward expires on Oct. 31, 2010.

"The Clarksburg Community Watch extends its deepest appreciation to those community members and individuals who have offered this reward. We encourage people to come forward with any information. Please help your community!"
 

Find out more at the town's Neighborhood Watch site.

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New Crime Watch Site

Tammy Daniels

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.

Write a comment - 17 Comments       Tags: break-ins, buglaries, Veremko, crime watch      

Clarksburg Selectman Responds

Tammy Daniels

We received this letter from Clarksburg Selectman Carl McKinney on the recent break-ins. Rather than just post it in our letters section, or on the multiple stories we decided to post it here with links back to it.

First and foremost, I would like to both express my sympathy and empathy to those folks whose homes were violated and robbed. I know from first hand the feeling. In 1976, we were robbed. Clarksburg really didn't have a Police Department; we had a constable and deputy. They did the best they could. But my Father did not go down to the Selectmen and blame them. Things happen. And society is changing.

The Clarksburg Police Department has been working on these cases tirelessly, and I know Chief Mike [Willliams] has been putting in 16 hour days. Thank God he's on salary. I know he has been in contact with the district attorney, the Massachusetts State Police Crime Unit, the Berkshire County Drug Task Force and neighboring community police
departments. This is how it is either going to be solved…or not. There are no guarantees, and throwing money at the problem will not necessarily result in a different outcome.

I applaud the creation of Crime Watch Units. When we had a B&E last spring in the East and Daniels roads area, many people came to complain. The Chief offered to assist them with the creation of a Crime Watch. After the break-in was settled, that was it - no more communication, no interest, and that's where it was left. If a community watch is to be successful, it will require determination, co-operation, co-ordination and communication…for the long haul;.

Much has been made and said about the furloughs. We had to cut 5 percent in that area of the budget. We had 3 options: A) Institute major layoffs (as it was we eliminated a Library Aide). B) Cut all Town Employee wages 5 percent and make them work the full 52 weeks; or C) Furlough the employees and keep their jobs intact, their salaries and benefits intact. We chose C.

Over the last seven years, the School Budget has increased on an average of $67,000 per year. The Town side of the budget has gone down over those seven years, hitting a low of $790,000 (from $1,000,000) a 21 percent reduction ... gradually going up to $990,000 last year, and reduced to $919,000 this year. We are still able to provide good services on a reduced funding schedule.

Much ill-informed diatribe has also been spewed about the "high taxes" in Clarksburg. That's HOGWASH. Clarksburg has the fourth lowest tax burden per household in all of Berkshire County. And we are between a quarter or a third of the property taxes they pay in Vermont, New York AND New Hampshire.

The lowest tax town is Hancock. But they have ski resorts, and TIME SHARE CONDOS. Those folks pay taxes on those condos but do not use the school system. Next is Florida. They have $90 MILLION in commercial tax base for the
hydroelectric generating facilities within their boarders.

Next is Egremont (I believe, don't hold me to it), and I do not know what their deal is, nd then there is Clarksburg. And all we have is each other. We have no grand taxing ability. Although the Town of Clarksburg could raise taxes 35 percent and not even hit Proposition 2 1/2. We choose not to; 30 percent of our homeowners are elderly folks living on fixed incomes. I know for a fact that there are elderly folks living in cold houses, and using public food security programs to survive. A dollar or two on the tax rate means a lot to those folks.

I do not think throwing money at every problem is the answer. And even if we wanted to throw more money at it…we would have to have a Town Meeting. How many of you even attended this spring's Town Meeting? Did you standup and request more money from your neighbors for the Police Department? I do not recall anyone doing that. Yet you want to hijack the town government, with a pistol and an attitude, and think you can do better. I don't think so. Let the Police do their job.

Best,

Carl W. McKinney
Clarksburg Selectmen Member
413-662-2891

P.S. I do not post anonymously. When I write something I sign it with my name. You people hiding behind your keyboard and anonymously spreading fear, and anxiety, and misinformation…and sometimes outright lies sickens me.

To All Others:Happy Holidays Folks

Write a comment - 42 Comments       Tags: break-ins, arrest, Veremko, crime watch, selectman      

Break-ins Continued

Tammy Daniels

Update at 2:47 p.m.:   Town Administrator Michael Canales has informed us that the utility company will not give permission to post crime watch signs on its poles because of liability issues.

However,  "if people have signs they want posted, they can bring them to Town Hall, myself or Chief Williams, and let us know what street they want them on and we will place them on street sign posts," says Canales.

Original post:

I wasn't able to get to Lenox on Thursday but the story appeared in both The Transcript and The Eagle this morning. It should be available here for about a week.

At least one Clarksburg couple, Valerie and John Wilson,  found personal property in the hundreds of items taken from the arrest of Stefan Veremko.

There's been a lot of talk about Veremko not being charged in the Clarksburg burglaries. This may be jurisictional; he may have to be arraigned in Northern Berkshire District Court. If it's a matter of "receiving stolen goods," they not have to charge him up here. I'm trying to find that out.

There's also been questions of why Clarksburg is continually left off the list of towns in which the break-ins have happened. This is an error promulgated by the first press release from Lenox that omitted the town. The newspapers keep running the incorrect list (cut & paste?).

Next: Veremko's believed to involved in two to four break-ins; there have been six in Clarksburg since September. At least two break-ins he's not suspected in because of what was taken and the seeming familiarity the perpretator had with the home. (I read "friend or family member" in that.)

I also received this from the Stamford Community Watch regarding reports of break-ins on Hudson and Pine in Clarksburg:

"Regarding Pine Ave. & Hudson Brook. It has been reported that there has been "suspicious" circumstances at a home on each street recently. Homeowners reported that there were unusual things at the houses, mainly with an outside entrance. Again, we don't have reports of a break-in, just that they indicated unusual circumstances."

Still have a call into Vermont state police; still haven't gotten back to me.
 


 

 

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Clarksburg Meeting

Tammy Daniels

I know some Clarksburg residents are planning to attend tonight's Selectmen's meeting about the burglaries. I'll be there as well.

For those in Stamford, I've also put in a call to the state police about the break-ins there. I was told Trooper Jesse Robeson is working the investigation but he hadn't gotten back to me this afternoon.

I'm also going to Lenox tomorrow to find out about  the all the evidence picked up after Veremko's arrest.

Write a comment - 5 Comments       Tags: break-ins, buglaries, Veremko      
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