Edgartown police seize tools in arson, burglary investigation

Edgartown Police last week searched property next door to the Ross family residence on 39 Dunham Road, the scene of a house break and arson that occurred on September 27. Police found tools that could have been used by the thieves to cut a propane gas line in the Ross house. The attempt to destroy the house left emergency responders, who entered the house unaware that the gas line had been cut, shocked when they learned how narrowly they escaped a catastrophic explosion.

As the result of a continuing investigation that included interviews with emergency personnel who were at the scene, family members, friends, employees and contractors, “a person of interest developed and our investigation focused on the property next door,” Detective Chris Dolby said in a press release received Tuesday afternoon.

Police sought a search warrant for a family compound at 41 Dunham Road owned by the Warren Vose Trust. Police conducted a search on Oct. 19.

Police officers seized five different cutting tools they suspect may have been used in the commission of the crime. The tools will be sent to the state laboratory for processing, along with the rest of the evidence recovered during the initial phase of the investigation, according to the press release.

In a telephone conversation, Detective Dolby told The Times that the tools used to cut the gas line were very specialized. He said none of the items stolen from the house have been recovered yet.

In a telephone conversation Tuesday evening, Warren Vose Jr. of Edgartown, trustee for the family trust, said he had not talked to police. Mr. Vose said his nephew lives in a guest house on the property.

The crime was discovered when officer Michael Snowden arrived at 2:44 am, Sept. 27 in response to an automatic alarm in a seasonal harbor-front house. He averted a catastrophe when he extinguished a fire deliberately set by a thief, who had turned on all the burners on the electric range to high and cut the main propane gas line to a room heater.

In an advertisement published on page 14 of the September 29 issue of The Times, the Ross family listed some of the items stolen and offered a $10,000 reward for information that leads to a conviction.

The stolen items included electronics such as a Yamaha surround receiver and Onkyo receiver and home furnishings such as a five-panel bone box, a Nagel slide-top box with a very decorative whaling scene, and a scrimshaw paperweight.

Edgartown Police ask anyone with information to call the station at 508-627-4343. Edgartown has also created an online tip line where the public can remain anonymous and provide information on this case or any crime. The number to text or call is: 774-310-1190. The email address is: crimetips@edgartown-ma.us