To the Editor:
As a multiple victim of this burglary spree, I have a few things I would like to share. After reading the article (Feb. 17, “Police arrest teen thieves, find tools worth $50K”) and some of the comments online I felt the need to provide more insight.
First, it is not over. Although my friends and father got most of their tools and other items back, I am still missing most of my property. To me this means that either the thieves think they can keep the stuff the police did not find with the search warrants, or they were indeed selling it.
I am building a house on an affordable lot I have leased from the town of Chilmark. I came to my house frame one morning to find my place nearly cleaned out. Considering possible suspects, I nearly wrote off mean dumb kids. The viciousness of how they took nearly everything they could carry made it nearly impossible to imagine.
The second time they came, they took all my stainless nails, screws, hammers, and speed squares. By this time the culprits had time to think about everything they had done; kids didn’t even come to mind. I figured it was junkies, taking the stuff off-Island to sell it, that someone would certainly have to be out of their minds on drugs to do this.
The third time they came was possibly the most disturbing; they ripped apart the door to my father’s aluminum trailer, ripped the hardware out of my now closed-in house’s new door, and stole more items.
Stealing tools and boating equipment is about as low as a thief can get. It is close to stealing lobsters or rustling cattle, because it is someone’s livelihood, and they are an easy target. Every other person on this Island has tools in some unfinished house or in the back of a truck, let alone an unlocked garage, shop or house. We need trust if we are to enjoy our lives here and make a living.
After being robbed, it made me think about my decision of putting all my eggs in this one basket. We need to make sure this sort of thing does not start happening more regularly on the Island. As hard as it was not having our tools to work with and imagining someone else wearing our belts, what was worse was having something like this happen in my community.
I hope our district attorney at least does everything they can do to punish them properly. One could say this is their first offense, but they robbed me three times. I will say, though, that I do normally appreciate that Massachusetts and especially the Vineyard justice system generally spare us from the harshest sides of the American criminal system. We are a decent community, and people make mistakes, but there are lines that decent people don’t cross.
They had hit us in November, December and January, each on a Sunday, so this February I was planning on staying in my cold unfinished house Sunday nights. You can imagine that I was scared and would have had to have protected myself if the thieves found me before the police arrived. If the police hadn’t caught them, I imagine they would have come again. These kids and their supporters should humble themselves and give thanks they are healthy and will hopefully have a long life ahead of them, one in which they can stop being scumbags, accept their punishment, grow, and build good karma. It is a serious situation.
I am still missing a large rectangular aluminum toolbox, the plaque in the inside reads D-Flite, made in New Jersey. It had my hand tools in it, about a dozen chisels, a Japanese saw, hand plane, scrapers, swangle, nail sets, wood and metal files, and various odd screws and pieces of door and window hardware; my Makita 18-volt drill and impact driver set with Forstener bits, countersinks, batteries and chargers (they have ‘cp’ written on them in sharpie); a $45 pushbroom from Cottle’s (worth every penny), as well as a big Port-a-Cable finish gun, a Bostich stick framing gun, my silver 80G i-Pod, a few hundred stainless steel screws, a bow and arrow target I had never gotten the chance to use, and some other stuff.
My father is still missing his Makita skillsaw and a DeWalt sander. My buddies who are working on my house are still missing a black i-Pod Nano, a hammer, and a few other hand tools. Whoever has these tools, please drop them off at my house — we won’t say anything, though if you want to make your peace we will listen.
I would also like to use this public medium to thank all of the police officers who worked on these cases and congratulate them on their success. I would also like to thank WVVY for informing us of the situation and the MVTimes for reporting the story and giving me this forum to voice my opinion. Also respect and thanks to all of Martha’s Vineyard, we are a community by virtue of our special Island. I love you guys, for the most part.