Published: July 15, 2003
– An estimated $75,000 to $100,000 worth of silver was reportedly stolen from a dealer’s booth on the Central Park field on the evening of July 9, the same night as virtually the town’s entire “former” police force picketed outside of the Brimfield Town Hall protesting the loss of its jobs.
The theft occurred after show hours, presumably late at night, in the unattended booth of Alexandria, Va., dealers MarkLee. The dealers were set up on the “free” field within a few yards of the field’s owner’s bedroom window and within earshot of other vendors that were sleeping in either their booths or vans.
“They cleaned us out,” stated dealer Mark Gillespie of MarkLee, “and they only wanted the best. They were very selective in what they took — only sterling flatware, some hollowware and candlesticks. It was a very well orchestrated robbery.” The full-time antiques dealers also reported that their lost stock was uninsured.
Gillespie commented that the tent in which they had been exhibiting had been bundled up for the night, “everything was tied down, double wrapped and secured. You would never had known that anyone had been in there,” commented the dealer, who reported that the exterior of the tent was exactly as the dealers had left it the previous evening.
The lack of a police presence in the town of Brimfield, due to the resignation of the police chief and the 18 local officers not being reappointed by the Board of Selectmen just one week prior to the summer shows, is being considered by some to be a factor in the theft.
Gillespie commented that after attempting to report the theft “to the Brimfield Police Department the following morning, we had to call in the State Police. The clerks [replacing the former Brimfield officers] didn’t even know where the police reports were, let alone how to fill them out.”
Gillespie reported that the first state trooper on the scene was “from the Sturbridge barracks, but once he saw the magnitude of the robbery, he called in a detective from Springfield, who then called in the Major Crime Squad.” The Police spent much of Thursday in the booth, “dusting for fingerprints and acquiring clues.” Despite his obvious displeasure with the Town of Brimfield and its local police department — or more to the point, their lack of one — Gillespie stated the state police were “absolutely marvelous, they were very helpful and considerate.”
The problems with the Brimfield Police Department began with the resignation of the Chief of Police and the Board of Selectmen’s decision not to reappoint the 18 part-time and auxiliary officers just one week prior to the summer session of Brimfield. The highly charged situation has the town claiming it wants the new police chief to be able to pick his staff, while the former officers claim the selectmen’s actions were retaliatory as they are in the process of unionizing.
The selectmen reportedly commented that they anticipated the former police officers to be working the Brimfield Shows as they had always done in the past; however, when the officers discovered that they would not legally have police powers in the State of Massachusetts unless they were officially appointed, they turned in their badges.
While the town’s force has always had a strong presence in the town during the three shows annually, their main function has always seemed to be traffic and crowd control.
MarkLee has reported that more than 500 pieces of flatware were stolen from their booth, along with numerous candlesticks and approximately a dozen pieces of hollowware. “The state police believe it was a professional job,” stated Gillespie.
While a full list of the missing rdf_Descriptions had not been compiled by press-time, a partial list of the missing sterling silver follows, aspic slices, an aspic serving set, numerous gravy ladles, meat forks, a Tiffany sterling silver epergne, an English argyle, wine strainers, wine tasters, place card holders, early English close plate wine tasters, lobster picks, candle sticks, candelabra, Dutch silver bonbon baskets, French bonbon baskets, a fruit set, shoe horns, asparagus servers, quaiches, tomato servers, sugar shells, cake comb, fish servers, joint holders, pastry servers, a large menu holder, some large silver plate ladles and a set boxed set of silver plate flatware.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Trooper Jones, State Police Detective Unit, 55 State Street, Springfield, MA 01103, or call 413-747-4810.
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