Police have named the man that was arrested at a Richford home Sunday evening.

According to police, Lee Dumas, 32, of Richford is being accused of Aggravated Operation Without Owner’s Consent, Driving Under the Influence (5th offense), Operating After Suspension, Aggravated Disorderly Conduct, Retail Theft, and Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer with bodily fluids.



By Emma Lamberton

ENOSBURG FALLS: When Greg Cunningham bought a vacation home in Enosburg Falls in 1992, he knew he never wanted to leave.

“Vermont was my getaway. A visit filled me with intense joy,” he told Watchdog. Cunningham and his wife fell in love with the quaint, remote town in northern Vermont.

Cunningham, an electrical engineer living in Toronto, grew up north of the Vermont border, in the Canadian province of Quebec.

While out-of-state homeowners often live like tourists, Cunningham and his wife became part of the community. They visited six to seven times a year, for about two weeks each trip.

“We have neighbors who are our friends and we love to chat with. I get my car serviced at a garage in town. We have loyalty to this community,” he said.

However, property taxes are forcing the Cunninghams to sell their St. Albans Steet home, a fact he called “heartbreaking.”

“The taxes have just become so burdensome, almost doubling every seven years,” he said. “It’s become unsustainable.”

According to Cunningham, renovations to the local school made the education tax unbearable. Out-of-state residents pay a rate of $1.50 for every $100 of their assessed property value. That left him paying about $4,000 annually, a sum that, when added to additional monthly taxes, became unaffordable.

“Where we’re from,” he said, referring to Enosburg Falls, “our neighbors are struggling. You’ve got to wonder what it will be like for them a few years down the road.”

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Second-home owners provide outside cash to Vermont communities, which often struggle as closed economies where local money circulates but no new funds are brought in. When they come to visit, they often spend cash freely.

Cunningham said chasing away homeowners is bad for Vermont, and he believes the government’s attitude of expansion is to blame.

“I’ve seen it in Canada. Bureaucrats feed on themselves, and poor schmucks are forced to pay for it.”

Tax rates are generally higher in Canada than in the United States due to the cost of universal health care. Despite higher rates, Canada’s taxable population is rising, which Cunningham said should lead to a lower burden for taxpayers, but doesn’t because the government keeps growing and costing more money. He warned that the same growth in spending is hurting the Green Mountain State.

“It’s sneaking up on Vermont. I hope the sale of my home can be a warning for others.”

The population of Enosburg Falls has declined steadily since the late ’90s, creating a larger burden on remaining residents. The area is rural, with only a few transportation companies to provide jobs in the community. To find work, many residents commute to Burlington.

Cunningham’s home went on the market in October, and he’s had only one showing. This, he says, confirms that the town isn’t attractive to new residents.

“Don’t lie down and take it,” he warns. “We see a lot of this up here [in Canada]. Something simple turns into gigantic bureaucracy. You shouldn’t have to pay for that.”



Police walk a man to their cruiser Sunday afternoon from 172 South Main Street in Richford. Photograph by Gregory J. Lamoureux
Police walk a man to their cruiser, Sunday afternoon,  from 172 South Main Street in Richford. Photograph by Gregory J. Lamoureux

See an updated story here.

RICHFORD- Police took a man into custody at 172 South Main Street, in Richford, this evening. No official information has been released, but from what we have gathered from law enforcement officers on scene and bystanders, the man was driving a vehicle that was reported stolen earlier in the evening. 

According to the owner of the vehicle, who we have chosen not to identify at this time, the truck was stolen from a farm field where the truck was left while the owner was hunting. 

According to John Wetherby, the owner of South Main Quick Stop in Richford, the man stole six alcoholic beverages and a scratch ticket from the store minutes before his arrest. 

Border Patrol Agents hold a man while Sheriff's Deputies search a home at 172 South Main Street in Richford on Sunday evening. Photograph By Gregory J. Lamoureux
Border Patrol Agents hold a man while Sheriff’s Deputies search a home at 172 South Main Street in Richford on Sunday evening. Photograph By Gregory J. Lamoureux

At about 6:30pm, Border Patrol and Sheriff’s Deputies stormed the home located at 172 South Main St., where the stolen truck was parked in the driveway.

Agents from Border Patrol had one man at gunpoint outside of the residence while a team of Sheriff’s Deputies searched for the second man inside the home. 

Deputies led the man outside, as he struggled and pushed away from police. One deputy appeared to be carrying drugs that could have been seized from the man.

The man was detained for a short period of time in the back of a Sheriff’s Department cruiser before being moved to a waiting ambulance. That ambulance left with the man inside and a Sheriff’s Deputy in tow.

It is unclear if both men were taken into custody.

The County Courier will have more information when it is released. 



ST. ALBANS: When Vermont State Trooper Michael Mattuchio pulled over a man without a license last week in St. Albans- he cited him into court and told him he couldn’t drive his car home, but within an hour a worker at the gas station where the car was parked called police to tell them he’d just left with the car. Continue reading “CAUGHT WITHOUT A LICENSE, TWICE IN AN HOUR”