Police investigate commissioners car theft
By Brent Curtis
staff writer | September 06,2013
Rutland Police Commission Chairman Larry Jensen has his car back but not his sense of trust and security after he returned home Sunday to find his BMW missing from his garage.
“We came home and the garage was open and the convertible was gone,” Jensen said this week.
Suspicion quickly fell on Ryan Douglas, a man who Jensen and his wife met in May and learned to trust in a short period of time.
The 41-year-old, who Jensen said had proven himself trustworthy in the past, was renting a room from him and had even managed the couple’s business, the Antique Mansion, while they were away, was missing Sunday night along with Jensen’s car and a small amount of money taken from his bedroom.
The car and Douglas were found two days later in West Springfield, Mass., where police in that community say Douglas tried to commit suicide by leaping from a fourth-floor balcony at a hotel he checked into the night before.
West Springfield Police Capt. Thomas Wilkinson said Wednesday that Douglas’ fall was broken by some shrubs at the base of the Quality Inn where he was staying. Douglas suffered serious injuries, including a compound fracture to his arm, Wilkinson said, but the injury did not appear to be life-threatening.
He was taken to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Mass., where he remained Thursday night in good condition, according to a spokeswoman.
Jensen’s car was found parked outside the hotel. Jensen said Wednesday that he recovered it fully intact.
“He didn’t even change the radio station,” he said.
No criminal charges have been filed against Douglas in either Vermont or Massachusetts and Jensen said he was uncertain whether he wants to press charges, but Wilkinson and Rutland Police Chief James Baker said the case remains under investigation.
A number of details remain unclear, including why Douglas traveled to West Springfield and why, he apparently tried to take his own life.
From the perspective of Jensen, who has led the city’s police commission since June 2010, none of the events that transpired after he left the bed and breakfast on Field Avenue Sunday morning have made sense.
Though he only met Douglas in May, Jensen said nothing he knew about the man prepared him for the events that transpired this week.
He said that Douglas introduced himself as a entrepreneur who had just returned to the country from a business venture in Chile. He said he liked Vermont, liked Killington and liked the Antique Mansion which he found while researching the area on the Internet.
Jensen said Douglas told him he was from New Jersey, although police in West Springfield said Douglas’ identification indicated he was from Raleigh, N.C.
Douglas had talked about embarking on futures trading while helping the bed and breakfast’s owners with everything from marketing to computer technical support, Jensen said.
“We were talking about getting him more involved in the business,” Jensen said.
No warning signs presented themselves before Jensen and his wife left the house just after 9:20 a.m. on Sunday.
Before they left, Jensen said he asked Douglas to perform a series of tasks while they were away. When he returned at 6 p.m. that day, the chores were done and most of Douglas’ possessions including clothes, a computer and jars of money, were still at his house.
But Douglas was gone.
Now, he said he just wants answers about a man he doesn’t know anymore.
“I’d like to have someone find out what’s going on and get him into recovery or whatever he needs,” Jensen said.
He also praised the Rutland Police Department that he and the other members of the police commission are charged with overseeing.
“I never intended to be a customer of the police department but I’m pleased with the professional way they went about their work and I’m pleased they got my car back and in good shape.”