by Bethany M. Dunbar
BARTON — A veteran reporter for the Chronicle had his car stolen from the office as he was working inside on Tuesday. But about three hours later, the vehicle was found in Orleans, and the person who took it was caught.
About 3:30 p.m., Assistant Editor Natalie Hormilla Gordon arrived for her evening shift job and noticed a young man in a hooded sweatshirt sitting in Paul Lefebvre’s car, holding the steering wheel.
She did not recognize him, thought it was odd, and when she went inside, she told Mr. Lefebvre, who went outside to take a look. By then the car was being driven from the scene, badly. It’s a Honda CRV with standard shift, and the driver was stalling as he made his getaway, down Water Street and north on Route 5, as Mr. Lefebvre watched.
Thinking he might be able to head it off on foot, Mr. Lefebvre cut through the schoolyard at a run to try to get his car back.
The attempt proved unfruitful, so he came back to the office where he called the State Police to report the theft. Chronicle staffers also decided to post the car’s theft on Facebook. Trooper Erika Liss came to the Chronicle office and interviewed Mr. Lefebvre and Ms. Gordon, who had got a good look at the robber. She described him as a white male in his twenties, average size, with blue eyes, wearing a Navy blue hoodie.
“He had his hands on the wheel, looking kind of intense,” she said. “He was just sitting there, and I thought, maybe he knows Paul.”
Mr. Lefebvre said his first thought was, “How am I going to get home tonight?”
His car had been in an accident about a week and a half before, and the back window was smashed out and covered with a green tarp and duct tape. It also had problems with the door, created in the accident.
Mr. Lefebvre said it has not been a very lucky car for him, as he has had to put in a new motor, water pump, and clutch.
“I think that car has a hex on it,” he said.
But Mr. Lefebvre’s luck was apparently turning a few hours later, when people started calling the office to say they had seen the car in Orleans Village. They were aware of the theft due to the Facebook post. Mr. Lefebvre called the police back to say the car had been spotted in Orleans, and Lieutenant Kirk Cooper went to the village, spotted the car and found out the driver was in the bathroom at the Sunoco station. The driver, who said he is from Enosburg and had no wallet with him, was cited after he came out of the bathroom.
Mr. Lefebvre had his car back, and nothing seemed to be missing from the vehicle.
contact Bethany M. Dunbar at [email protected]