MARLBORO -- A local company still reeling from the devastating effects of Tropical Storm Irene was recently burglarized, and the brothers who own it have reported thousands of dollars worth of equipment stolen.
Steve Paquette, who co-owns Marlboro Collision and Towing on Route 9 with his brother David, said someone threw a rock through a window to gain entry to the business, after failing to pry open the doors, within the past day or two, and stole tools valued at between $5,000 and $7,000. He said several tool kits, two GPS units and a brand-new compressor were among the items stolen, though none of his customers' vehicles were touched.
Paquette told the Reformer he found out about the crime Friday morning, after his garbageman noticed the broken window. He hopes he will be covered by his insurance.
"Like I was trying to explain to my son, am I mad that they stole the tools? Yes, I'm pissed, he said. "But I feel violated that they broke into my building. We lost everything during Irene and to have this happen, it's like a slap in the face."
The Paquettes' business was ravaged by Irene, which struck two years ago this month, as the storm caused $150,000 in losses -- and not a penny was covered by insurance. As the Whetstone Brook, which flows behind the business, rose with tremendous force, the banks of the brook eroded away, as did the foundation of the building. All their expensive tools and equipment used to repair vehicles fell nearly 20 feet through the flooring.
The brothers eventually got a $30,000 federal grant to construct an addition, which is being built now, and Steve said volunteers came from all around to help the business. He mentioned specifically Renaud Bros. Inc., which sent a crane to help lift part the building out of the brook.
"Now I have to replace some of what I've already replaced," he said Friday. "Who would want to do this? We haven't done anything to anybody."
Steve said people have previously broken into his building but no one ever stole anything. He said business had been steady since he and his brother got back on their feet.
A small engine repair shop, which Steve said is about a mile and half away from Marlboro Collision, was broken into in an identical fashion, though Vermont State Trooper Jeff Hudon is unsure if there is any connection.
Hudon, who is investigating the burglary at Marlboro Collision, requests that anyone with information contact him at the Brattleboro barracks at 802-254-2382.
Domenic Poli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.