Three charged in Dismas House burglary
By Brent Curtis
Staff Writer | March 14,2013
Three men, including two residents, have been charged with breaking into an office and stealing envelopes containing raffle proceeds at a transitional home for inmates in Rutland.
The Dismas House on Park Avenue exists to give incarcerated offenders ready to be released from jail a chance to live in a structured environment where they can prepare to reintegrate with society.
On Jan. 29, Rutland Police say two of those residents were involved in a burglary and theft of an unknown amount of money from a locked office in the house.
In an affidavit filed in Rutland criminal court, Officer Jon Dickerson said another resident at the home saw Cody Morrill and Edward J. Edwards — who were staying at the home at the time — and Shawn M. Ritchie, of Rutland, exiting the office with items in their hands.
All three men have been charged with a felony count each of burglary and misdemeanor charges of unlawful mischief and petty larceny. Ritchie, 39, pleaded innocent to the charges on Tuesday. Bail was set at $10,000 for Ritchie but was suspended to allow him to go to a drug treatment facility.
Edwards and Morrill were both returned to jail and are scheduled to appear for arraignment on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively.
While those charges are pending, the executive director of Dismas of Vt. Inc., Jan Tarjan, cautioned that members of her organization harbor doubts that Morrill and Edwards were involved in the incident.
“There was a witness who thought he saw some people who were residents but now we’re not really sure,” Tarjan said. “We’re really just not sure and we’re leaving it up to police.”
In his affidavit, Dickerson said a resident in the home, Michael Tudor, was awoken at about 2:25 a.m. by the sound of people talking and making loud noises.
Tudor told police he went downstairs and was in the kitchen of the home when he saw Morrill, Edwards and Ritchie leaving the office. Ritchie appeared to be carrying an object, Tudor told police.
When staff investigated the scene the next morning, they found the door to the office damaged and evidence of unsuccessful attempts made to pry open a safe.
Missing from the office were an unknown number of envelopes containing either personal checks or cash mailed to the Dismas House for an upcoming Valentine’s Day fundraiser, Dickerson wrote.
Eleven damaged personal checks written out for the raffle were later found near the intersection of State and Grove streets, Dickerson added.
Tarjan said the break-in forced her organization to postpone the raffle and prompted mailings to everyone who sent money for the tickets explaining the situation and asking anyone who paid in cash to let the organization know so they could be reimbursed with free tickets at a later raffle drawing.