Police investigating theft of $6,000 from personal safe

Safe owner said thief is ‘someone that knows her and her habits’

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Juli Vanderhoop, center, shown here speaking at an event in Aquinnah in August, recently reported $6,000 stolen from her home safe. —Gabrielle Mannino

Aquinnah police are investigating a possible larceny case in which approximately $6,000 went missing from long-time Aquinnah resident Julianne Vanderhoop’s home on State Road the day before Halloween.

According to the police report, Vanderhoop, a town selectman, told Aquinnah police officer David Murphy the money was taken from a safe in her bedroom that had approximately $9,000 banded in stacks of $1,000. Vanderhoop said the money in the safe was being set aside to pay for her son Emerson’s tuition at Dartmouth College. A GoFundMe has been set up by Molly Purves to help recoup the money taken from the safe.

Vanderhoop told police it is possible she may have not properly secured the safe after its last use. When asked if she had any suspects in mind, Vanderhoop told Murphy she believed it may have been “someone that knows her and her habits,” as it reads in the report.

Vanderhoop owns and operates The Orange Peel Bakery out of her personal residence. She mentioned a possible suspect who gave her a “real bad vibe” whenever he would visit the bakery and purchase goods with “spare coins.”

Vanderhoop has a security camera inside the bakery, where customers can purchase goods based on the “honor system” when she is not present in the shop. The report states she is currently reviewing the surveillance footage to look for anything “out of the ordinary.”

According to the report, Vanderhoop’s residence was not locked during the time of the theft.

A cash register tray full of money was left on the floor by Vanderhoop with no money missing from it.

Vanderhoop stated nobody has access to the safe other than her and nobody else knew about it besides her children.

The following day, officer Steven Mathias went to Vanderhoop’s home to dust for fingerprints. Mathias wrote in the report that he could “visibly see three silhouettes of fingers on the left side of the door,” although he was unable to find any identifiable fingerprints. “I attempted to lift the silhouettes using a hinge lift backing, but due to the very rough and 3D surface of the safe the lift was unsuccessful,” he wrote.

Mathias had Vanderhoop place her right hand near the prints and noted what appeared to be a “perfect match.”

This investigation remains open and is being looked into by local authorities. Aquinnah police Chief Randhi Belain told The Times there are no definitive suspects.

If anyone has information regarding this case, call the Aquinnah police at 508-645-2313.