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Friday, May 5, 2017

Suspect in Burlington College Burglary Won't Face Charges

Posted By on Fri, May 5, 2017 at 8:48 PM

Burlington College - FILE: NATALIE WILLIAMS
  • File: Natalie Williams
  • Burlington College
A man suspected of stealing computers last year from Burlington College after it had closed down will not face criminal prosecution, Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo said.

Federal authorities are continuing to investigate a land deal brokered by former Burlington College president Jane O'Meara Sanders, the wife of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). News of that investigation broke last week, and has led to renewed interest in the unsolved burglary.

Police responded to a break-in at the college that occurred on either July 24 or July 25. It was two months after the school had closed due to financial difficulties stemming in part from the purchase of its North Avenue campus.

There was no sign of forced entry and the door had likely been left unlocked, Burlington police officers said in an affidavit. Additionally, someone had disabled security cameras.

Several offices had been vandalized, and water had been poured on some computer servers. "In numerous offices, items were tipped over and damaged," police records say. "Computer monitors and computers were thrown about the rooms."

The college's main server, roughly 15-20 Macintosh computers and the school's Ford van were missing. Some records of students from Israel had been taken as well.

A college representative told police that "several things were odd about the burglary," the records say. "She stated she felt like an individual would have to know the keys to the van were kept in her office in order to locate the keys."

On July 26, police in Troy, N.Y. found the missing van after it crashed through a fence. They arrested Brett H. Seglem, who had allegedly been driving, according to police documents. Passengers in the van told police that they met Seglem in nearby Albany and he offered to drive them to Philadelphia. In the van, he bragged to them that he had stolen the vehicle and computers from Burlington College, according to police documents.

The computers were found inside the crashed van, along with some Burlington College banners. But the server was not recovered, according to police documents.

Police found a sign that read, "Traveling Broke & Hungry."

In an interview, del Pozo said that the Chittenden County State's Attorney's Office twice declined to prosecute Seglem for the alleged burglary, citing a lack of evidence.

Reached in New Jersey, Seglem's mother, Joanne Seglem, told Seven Days that her son is a drug addict who has struggled for years. She declined to discuss the case. Brett Seglem could not be located for comment.

An associate of Seglem's told police that he had been squatting last summer in an unused college building in the Burlington area, according to the affidavit.

VTDigger.org first reported details of the burglary in September.


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Mark Davis

Mark Davis

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Mark Davis is a Seven Days staff writer.

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