Sunday, September 21, 2008

JAFFREY -- Because burglars cut the telephone lines to the Jaffrey Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5613 before breaking in on Monday, the security alarm monitoring center never received an alert.

Jaffrey Police Officer Chris Follomon said Tuesday that the break-in early Monday morning set off the alarm at the VFW on Hathorn Road, but ADT Security never received the alert because the system relies on the phone line, which had been severed.

Referring to the alarm system at the VFW, Follomon said, "It said trouble on the panel."

The time of the burglary is estimated to be at about 2:08 a.m. based on the alarm panel indicator, according to police reports.

VFW Manager Lonn Elliot said a cleaning person discovered the break-in later that morning and, according to police reports, Elliot reported the incident to police at 7:26 a.m.

"As far as I'm concerned, [ADT] should receive some kind of alert that the phone line's been cut," Elliot said.

He said he notified ADT of the burglary and an ADT representative suggested the VFW get a radio system back up that could send an alert through a satellite, instead of a phone line.

An ADT representative did not return messages left on Tuesday by press time yesterday.

Elliot said the person who cut the phone line knew what he or she was doing because only the phone line was cut, and no other cables.

"They actually climbed the telephone pole about 25 feet and cut it just as it comes into the conduit," he said.

The conduit, he said, runs from the pole in to the ground and then in to the building.

The burglars didn't get much, Elliot said, except for a few coins from a video game machine and 56 packs of cigarettes, which the VFW sells for $4.50 a pack.

"They tried to get into the safe, but they didn't get in," he said. "They had access to all the liquor too and they didn't take any of it."

The burglars, he said, did between $1,000 and $1,500 in damages to the building in gaining entry and tampering with the safe. "They broke the dial off the safe and broke the manual turn dial," he said.

The burglars used a crowbar or some other prying apparatus to open several doors. They opened other doors by breaking the door handles, he said.

The VFW, a lounge for veterans who are members and their relatives, remained open following the break-in, Elliot said.