Burlington Police Arrest Man After Early Morning Vandalism Spree | News | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Burlington Police Arrest Man After Early Morning Vandalism Spree


Published August 9, 2022 at 5:02 p.m.

A Burlington police officer - FILE: OLIVER PARINI
  • File: Oliver Parini
  • A Burlington police officer
Burlington police say a young man damaged more than 30 homes early Tuesday in the South End.

Just after 5 a.m., callers flooded police dispatchers with reports about a man throwing things through windows in the Five Sisters neighborhood and on nearby streets. Officers intercepted a suspect — Mbyayenge "Robbie" Mafuta, 21, of Burlington — near Charlotte Street, according to a police press release.

Police later concluded, after reviewing video footage, that Mafuta had smashed a window and equipment at the Green Mountain Transit bus station on Cherry Street earlier on Tuesday morning.

All told, Mafuta caused "tens of thousands of dollars" in damage, including $16,000 of damage at the Downtown Transit Center, according to acting Police Chief Jon Murad. He said Mafuta struggles with mental health issues.

"Given the number of people affected by this morning’s spree, I am hopeful Mr. Mafuta can get the help he needs," Murad said, "but it must be done in a way that truly prevents innocent neighbors from being further victimized.”

A VTDigger.org reporter was among those whose homes were vandalized, the news site reported.

Seven Days was unable to determine whether Mafuta had been arraigned on the charges Tuesday afternoon. A clerk at the Chittenden County Superior Court's Criminal Division said staff were unable to process records requests because the office was closed for in-service training.

Early last year, Queen City officers tased Mafuta while attempting to arrest him on suspicion of breaking into a parked car. VTDigger reported at the time that two officers investigating a crime confronted Mafuta as he walked down the street and wound up struggling with him.

A witness to the arrest later filed a complaint against the department for improper use of force. Murad said then that the officers "had a right to physically stop the individual," according to VTDigger.