Police: Would-be Burglar Caught in the Act

A Jericho Vermont woman caught a would-be burglar in the act and police credit the homeowner for helping them nab the suspect.
A Jericho Vermont woman caught a would-be burglar in the act and police credit the homeowner for helping them nab the suspect.

The woman accused has been in trouble for this kind of thing many times before.

Police believe Jeanne Barner has broken into as many as 70 other homes, with a prescription drug addiction fueling the problem - today, she pleaded not guilty in court.

At first glance, 57 year old Jeanne Barner looks like an unlikely suspect in a home break-in. But police say this woman has a lengthy criminal record with new charges added Tuesday.

Barner pleaded not guilty to breaking in to a home on Nashville Road in Jericho Monday afternoon.

Police say Barner may be responsible for breaking into more than 70 homes, in search of prescription pain pills. "Anything can happen anywhere I guess," Vladimir Kiripolosky said, who lives nearby.

Court documents indicate the homeowner came home to the suspect's car parked in her driveway. She went in the house, only because she thought it was her son's friend’s car. She was shocked to find a strange woman in her hallway. Police say that woman is Barner - records show Barner told the homeowner she was looking for directions, before the homeowner chased her out.

"It’s pretty brazen," Jarrod Becker said, who lives nearby. 

The front door had actually been left unlocked and after walking up and down the street and talking with neighbors, I actually found that pretty common, neighbors say that they feel safe and they even leave their doors unlocked when no one’s home.

"Times have definitely changed, you have to be careful," Becker said.

Police say you should never confront an intruder, get a description and leave immediately.

"It’s potentially a very dangerous situation," Chittenden County Deputy State's Attorney Paul Finnerty said.

Police tell me Barner was a nurse, but after stealing pain medication from patients, she lost her license.  She's now working as a para educator at Bellows Free Academy Fairfax. The superintendent says the news is upsetting and that every employee does undergo a background check. Barner told police she's been clean since January.

"Life in Vermont has changed for the worse since the opiate epidemic," Finnerty added.

As part of her probation for her past convictions, Jeanne Barner has a curfew Monday through Friday, she can't leave her house between 3pm and 6am, and on the weekends, she can't leave her house at all. Now the judge is considering a 24 hour curfew for all seven days, and only if she's being looked after by a responsible adult. Jeanne Barner remains behind bars tonight.


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