Proving elected government officials are not immune to crime, Senator-at-Large Craig Barshinger was the latest victim of the burglary and home invasion crime wave hitting St. John.
Senator Barshinger found his house had been ransacked when he returned home on Monday night, November 14, after a full day senate session on St. Thomas.
I returned to St. John on the midnight ferry and got home around 12:40 a.m. and found that someone had ransacked my entire house, said Sen. Barshinger, who lives on Mamey Peak. Ice trays were pulled out of the freezer, a pull-out couch was opened, every drawer in the house was pulled out.
A wallet filled with old European currency was missing but the thieves did not take anything significant, Sen. Barshinger added.
Over the past few weeks, numerous island residents from Bordeaux Mountain to Estate Mandal have returned home to find their houses ransacked, the senator continued.
Several Victims in Coral Bay Area
I have learned of several other residents in the Coral Bay area who have found their homes ransacked as well; it seems that the criminals are doing something new that they never did before, said Sen. Barshinger. It used to be that local people were safe, but now thieves are hitting locals and long-time residents houses.
Although the Senator at Large has recently been speaking out for a stronger police force, he doesnt believe that the crime is linked to his political stance.
Some people have suggested that this was done for intimidation or as a payback because Ive been speaking out against the recent rash of burglaries, said Sen. Barshinger. I am not perceiving it as that. I think it is more linked to someone knowing my address and thinking that I had money at my house.
Not Connected with Politics
Senator Barshingers backpack, which contained his wallet, was stolen from his motorcycle on Sunday afternoon. Someone stole my backpack and wallet on Sunday afternoon and I think that could have precipitated it, he said. Whoever did this may have thought that I kept money at my home.
The senator is almost certain that the thieves were after money. I am almost certain that the thieves are looking for big stashes of money so I am warning people to secure your assets, said Sen. Barshinger. The police have not told us their theory of why we are having this drastic increase in crime but until they do, I have some important words for my fellow St. Johnians it seems that the criminals have stopped focusing on tourists and are now going for native St. Johnians and St. Johnian immigrants who keep large sums of cash at home.
I therefore urge all residents to take appropriate measures such as putting money in the bank, the senator continued. I keep no cash at my house and I am blessed by having nothing more than an irritating ransacking at my home.
Even people with modest homes can be targeted, Sen. Barshinger added. I have a very modest wood-frame home on stilts, so there is the realization that even people with modest homes need to be alert to the potential loss of valuables based on this new criminal strategy, said the Senator at Large.
Police Were Argumentative
Echoing numerous complaints from residents, Sen. Barshinger said V.I. Police Department officials were argumentative when he phoned them about the incident. On the phone the police were argumentative, they didnt want to listen to what I thought and they showed up with no camera and no flashlight which I had asked them to bring, said Sen. Barshinger.
The responding officers were polite and the forensics officer who showed up a few days later was professional, the senator noted.
On a high note, a forensics detective, George Green, came to the house looking for finger prints and other information and he was serious, courteous and professional, said Sen. Barshinger.
Local law enforcement officials need to work with more passion, the Senator at Large added. VIPD Needs Passion
The police dont seem to solve crimes with the same enthusiasm and determination that people do things like solve crossword puzzles or sports, said Sen. Barshinger Virgin Islanders are very passionate people. We see it during Carnival, through music, in so many ways, yet the police dont work with the same passion. Lets let that passion come through our police work too.