Understaffed Burlington cops unable to respond to 3 AM vandalism; two hours later perp broke 33 windows

Vandalism suspect Robbie Mafuta (Facebook photo)

Mayor cites criminal justice, mental health system failure for repeat offender

by Guy Page
Due to shortstaffing caused by attrition and City Council defunding, Burlington police were unable to respond to a property crime committed shortly after 3 AM Tuesday morning. About two hours later, the man later identified as the suspect in the 3 AM crime smashed 33 windows and terrorized residents on two Burlington streets.

The following is the Burlington Police Dept. report released yesterday:

On August 9, at about 5 AM, the Burlington Police Dispatch Center began to receive a large number of 9-1-1 calls in quick succession. Callers described a male suspect throwing objects through multiple residential windows in the area of Golden Place and Locust Terrace.

In total, it is estimated that more than twenty 9-1-1 calls were received within a short duration of time, which overwhelmed the two-person call center. Although the midnight shift had only one non-supervisory officer on duty, the in-progress nature and high volume of these incidents caused the on-duty supervisor to override the BPD’s Modified Priority Response Plan. (Under the Priority Response Plan, implemented in May 2021 and revised in May 2022, vandalism is a Priority 3 call that is diverted to online reporting. Prior to May 2021, all calls for service received in-person response, absent extenuating circumstances.)

As the officer and supervisor responded to the scene, dispatch continued to receive 9-1-1 calls reporting the suspect smashing windows. Residents exited their homes to follow the suspect as he walked down the street, leaving a swath of destruction in his wake. Officers made contact with the suspect in the area of Charlotte Street as he threw a flowerpot through a window.
The suspect was taken into custody without further incident. The suspect was identified as Mbyayenge “Robbie” Mafuta, 21. He is known to police from voluminous prior law enforcement encounters. He has previously been arrested for feloniously assaulting officers, for stealing an occupied vehicle and robbing the occupant—which would commonly be called a carjacking, although our state does not have such a charge—and for burglaries, thefts, vandalism complaints, and trespassing complaints.

Preliminary investigation has revealed approximately 33 residential houses were damaged, many of which had large picture windows shattered. Officers were told that dangerous objects were thrown through windows into rooms where people, including children, were sleeping. Many victims expressed significant fear, recounting that they did not know if someone was attempting to break into their homes. Damage estimates are still being gathered, but preliminary estimates suggests that the aggregate amount will potentially be in the tens of thousands of dollars. Officers interviewed witnesses who identified Mr. Mafuta as the author of this damage.

Additionally, at about 3:26 AM — prior to the calls at Golden Place and in The Sisters neighborhood — BPD dispatch received a 9-1-1 call from Green Mountain Transit (GMT) regarding the Downtown Transit Center. The bus station terminal’s window and exterior monitors were reported to have been smashed.

As per the Priority Response Plan, the only officer on shift at the time did not respond. Video review has since connected Mr. Mufuta to this crime as well. It is believed that this vandalism caused approximately $16,000 in damage.

“The suspect in this case has now had more than 100 police involvements,” said acting Chief of Police Jon Murad. “Even before this morning’s spate of vandalisms, he had accumulated more than a dozen police involvements since June 1, more than half of which involved arrest or referrals to alternative justice. Many others involved issues associated with mental health. After one act of vandalism, he called 9-1-1 and reported himself and stated that he had committed the crime because he was ‘off his meds’ and wanted to go to jail. Given the number of people affected by this morning’s spree, I am hopeful Mr. Mafuta can get the help he needs, but it must be done in a way that truly prevents innocent neighbors from being further victimized.”

Information is preliminary and subject to change. Mr. Mafuta’s criminal history reveals multiple felony and misdemeanor charges. He has, in the past, failed to appear for judicial summonses. He will appear in Chittenden County Courthouse today to answer to multiple felonies and misdemeanors, and Violation of Court Conditions. Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact the Burlington Police Department at (802) 658-2704.

Tuesday afternoon, Mayor Miro Weinberger issued the following statement on the vandalism which occurred yesterday morning in Burlington.

“This morning’s mass vandalism caused widespread destruction and fear in this city that Burlingtonians should not have to endure. It is highly frustrating that the suspect has previously been arrested numerous times by Burlington police, but neither the criminal justice system nor the mental health system has taken the actions necessary to either support Mr. Mafuta or prevent this crime from occurring. Burlington needs help from our law enforcement and mental health partners to sustain the peace and safety that this community has long enjoyed.”

Weinberger’s statement came as Chittenden County voters decided whether to give the Democratic nomination to Sarah George, whose no-bail, catch and release tendencies have drawn criticism from residents tired of repeat crime. They soundly re-nominated her over challenger Ted Kenney. There is no Republican challenger on the November 8 general election ballot.

Categories: Crime

37 replies »

  1. George will likely be nominated yet again, as unfortunately democrats are very slow learners, f they learn at all, and will vote “democrat” upon their dying breath as the democrat politicos and policies they have all bought into believing they mistakenly prove their “virtue” literally end their lives in the end.

  2. How can anyone tell there was vandalism? In the not too recent past, these acts on others private property on Church Street were greeted as an expression of freedom with their repeated childish behavior and beating back those that built the city. The city has become a refuse bin harboring those that don’t want to build but demand their entitlements as they tear down the structures of civilization.

  3. And of course he’s black. This minority crime wave is completely out of hand. Time to elect officials that will hold everyone accountable for their actions. Not the Vermont I grew up in.

  4. The chickens have come home to roost. Sara George sewed these seeds, now the people of Burlington get to reap the fruits of her efforts.

  5. Where are all of these bored, guilt ridden, self loathing Progressives who have BLM signs on their lawns and in their windows? These are the same people who enable this violence in Burlington. When will Burlington businesses and residents realize they have an untenable and dangerous situation in their city? City council people who tie the hands of the Police and prosecutors who ignore the violence. Just listen to Weinberger’s comment – he’s more concerned with the person who committed these crimes. Despicable. My family and I will continue to stay out of Burlington indefinitely due to the crime wave and violence perpetrator on law abiding citizens.

    • “Burlington is a progressive utopia.” And as such will continue to decay into a compost heap which will benefit skunks, possums, turkey vultures and other scavengers . A fitting legacy for Comrade Sanders and HIS collective .

    • No sane person would describe burlingington as a utopia… Land os marxist fringe alt left moonbats more like it.

    • I hope you are right Rich ! I don’t live in Burlington, but I hate seeing what used to be a beautiful, vibrant, fun, and safe city turned into an outhouse that nobody even cares enough about to spread lime on.

  6. Are people with higher levels of melanin disproportionately committing crimes in vermont or is it just me? We seem to prioritize highlighting race in everything these days except in narrative defying, unfortunate, verifiable stats. Who’s going to be the first news organization to bring it up? C’mon wcax!

    • You have to give WCAX credit for even posting photos these days when the perp is a member of a “protected class”. Many network affiliate web sites have stopped posting mugshots or at least ones that mess with “the narrative”.

    • Time to reevaluate the longitudinal “success” of our African refugee programs now that many of the young men we brought to the Burlington area in the late 90s/early2000’s are now adults.

    • You need look no further than Connecticut and Massachusetts. This is all imported crime from Hartford, Springfield, New Haven, Bridgeport and other cities from those states.

    • Yes. Blacks (you can say the word it’s ok) commit a wildly disproportionate amount of crime in VT and the USA. 12% of the population yet commit 56% of murders. Look it up yourself with FBI crime stats, not to mention trust your own eyes.

      Nothing will change until people stop being afraid of being called “raycist” for mentioning these obvious truths.

  7. Matthew 15: 13-14 – June 3, 2021: Mbyayenge “Robbie” Mafuta, 20, was arrested on charges of unlawful restraint, aggravated operation without the owner’s consent, grand larceny, larceny from a person, petit larceny and interference with emergency services.

  8. I have to admit I’m kind of enjoying watching as ever so woke Burlington sinks lower and lower. Guarantee you this clearly deranged and dangerous guy will be back out on the streets shortly; bad optics to lock up a BIPOC guy and all…….. Sarah George will likely be re-elected and the voters deserve what they get. Personally, I avoid going to Burlington now; sad to see what it’s become but it’s run by delusional leftists.

  9. And yet Chittenden voters nominated Soros George, oops I did it again, I mean Sarah George in the primary.

  10. well, well, well… another nail into the BTV coffin! Maybe we can have Kurt Russell star in another sequel called “Escape from Burlington”…

  11. “This morning’s mass vandalism caused widespread destruction and fear in this city that Burlingtonians should not have to endure.”

    Amazing…. Miro talks about Mafuta as though he’s the victim, and as if the (inanimate) “vandalism” somehow is the proximate cause.

    No Miro…. **Mafuta** (the criminal) is causing destruction and fear. If it’s so hard for you to articulate the facts clearly, you should not be Mayor.

  12. Of course the progressives are not capable of protecting their own property. A shotgun or baseball bat could have stopped the destruction but they hope someone else will protect them.

    • I was thinking the same thing Lester, as I read the article and comments….unfortunately this is going to spread out from the not so fair city of burlington… other areas surrounding and then beyond…….havent been to Burlington in a long time……and no plans to ever go there again

  13. The mayor simply faults the law enforcement system and the mental health system
    (the mental health system must be what gave Robbie the ‘meds’ that he chose to ‘go off of’) for not supporting this young fellow enough!? Clearly, Robbie needs the next level of care and attention from the system so he can live free of these terrible compulsions that he suffers, such as terrorizing citizens as they sleep in their homes, carjacking, and assaulting Cops.

  14. clearly by yesterday’s primary vote for sarah george proves that chittenden county and burlington enjoy lawlessness and chaos instead of law and order. The rest of Vermont will be just like burlington with a fruit like balint and welch its rep. in DC.

  15. Nevermind Da Mayor, WHERE’s Phil SCOTT? Here’s another of his “countless contributions of the New Americans”! A guy from Nepal HACKS his wife to DEATH, others rob, steal, deal drugs, & shoot each other w/bullets flying around town, and THIS guy, with some 100+ “police involvements”, runs free yet Slippery Sarah George ALLOWS him & his ilk to STILL roam the streets? You DO “reap what you sow” (NOT “sew” as in stitches) and these FOOLS in Bumington WILL re-elect her, mark my word..SHE feels ALL these folks are “UVM’s”, “Underprivileged, Vulnerable, & Marginalized” due to some INSANE notion of skin pigment. NOBODY CARES about their “color”, Sarah, never did & never will…

  16. 33 Windows broken? The police “could not” respond? The police refused to respond is more like it. What happened is NOT someone commiting a little mischeif, its a direct threat to that neighborhood. Burlington Police failled on an epic scale.

    • Guess that happens when your city council defunds the police. Also, when the citizens of a city paint a mural of a felon to worship.

    • It’s not easy or encouraging to do your part of a job knowing with confidence that it will be a complete waste of time because the next person in the chain of duty (prosecutor) will not do their job. Sure BPD could have responded and perhaps minimized the damage but they are justifiably hesitant to intervene anytime a member of a protected class is engaging in crime since the spotlight will then be focused on them, accusing them of bias. Remember that anytime Mr. Mafuta engages in criminal activity that it is “a cry for help”.

  17. Residents followed him down the street? Did they not come up with the idea of a gang tackle to stop him?

    • Physically preventing this alleged perpetrator from engaging in his hobby would be considered a violation of his civil rights. Those involved would have to answer to the Chittenden County State’s Attorney office and subsequently the Vermont Human Rights Commission.

  18. If you want to see Sarah George jump into action as a real prosecutor, it will be when some homeowner justifiably responds with deadly force to a projectile being hurled in his direction and ends Mr. Mafuta’s reign of terror.

    • There is an other scenario where pissed off citizens start defending themselves in lieu of police, and judicial protection. It won’t be pretty, but when one’s life or well being is on the line with no reasonable expectation of help from law enforcement, you have to do what you have to do.

      • Exactly what “they” are counting on. The goading and gaslighting is done with the sole purpose of getting the populace to react violently (like they do.) Word is out that “something” is coming down shortly to push those buttons even more. Some will fall for it, while the ones with brains will sit back and watch “them” destroy themselves. Never interfere with the enemy while they are in the midst of destroying themselves. Go time will be cleaning up the aftermath of their demise.

      • Unfortunately for Vermonters who take attacks on a home like this seriously, we are still saddled with a ridiculous “duty to retreat” self-defense doctrine. It may be a nice notion to expect that “it is better to be tried by 12 than be carried by 6” but I would not want to put my freedom into the hands of a Chittenden County jury of moonbats after that embarrassing primary victory of Sarah George. We live among an apparent majority of self-loathing, self-destructive idiots in present-day Vermont.

  19. According to “Giffords Law Center”
    “Though Vermont does not have a stand your ground statute, the state supreme court has held that there is no duty to retreat before using force in public.”