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Break-ins, vandalism in Dalton

May 20, 2009
DALTON — The small town of Dalton has played host to a rash of break-ins, thefts and vandalism in recent weeks. Chief of Police John Tholl said the town of less than a thousand people has been the target of two groups of burglars who have hit seven area residences since April 1. Police are also on the lookout for a third possible group believed to have vandalized Forest Lake State Park on two separate occasions.

Chief Tholl said there appears to be two distinct types of burglary taking place in town. In five of the incidents the thieves attacked seasonal or part-time residences at night and took only small items. They made off with DVD movies and PlayStation games and handheld PlayStation systems and made a mess of the homes, Chief Tholl said. The homes targeted were spread out geographically.

The other two burglaries, on Route 135 and Harriman Road, took place during the day while the residents were out. In one case the residents had been gone only two hours, he said. In the daytime burglaries prescription drugs and a large quantity of dollar coins were taken, as well as a laptop and identification documents. "I think we've got two separate things going on," Chief Tholl explained. He said the two daytime incidents were less violent — the thieves did not "trash" the residences — but showed savvy not evidenced in the other crimes.

Chief Tholl said that most of the targeted homes were visible from the road and neighbors' homes. Only three were hidden. The thieves were able to breach the door in most cases, either by prying it, kicking it in or jimmying the lock. When the door was not an option, the thieves gained access through a window. He asks that local residents be vigilant and aware of what's going on around them. "If you see anything that doesn't belong give us a call," Chief Tholl said.

Another problem plaguing the Dalton police is repeated vandalism at Forest Lake State Park. Chief Tholl said the park has been targeted twice in the past three weeks, both times likely by the same person who left a path of destruction. He described a scene of broken glass from smashed windows, the on-site sheds broken into, and the ground all the way to the beach torn up by a four-wheel drive vehicle.

Chief Tholl said the park is of specific concern because the vandalism could impact the entire community since the state did not plan to man it this year and he has recently heard discussions suggesting the closure of the park to the public. Chief Tholl said any closure "would be a shame."

Dalton police are asking anyone with information on either the burglaries or the vandalism to call the station at 837-2703.

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