Police: Woman Stole From Upper Valley Homes
Megan Mattern (Lebanon Police photograph)
Plainfield — An Upper Valley woman told police she stole jewelry, cash and a sterling silver flatware set from families who employed her as a nanny in order to pay for her opiate addiction.
Megan Mattern, 34, was charged this week in Windsor Superior Court with two felony charges of grand larceny in connection with thefts at two Norwich homes. She is also charged in Claremont District Court with five counts of theft by unauthorized taking, four counts of receiving stolen property and one count of identity fraud involving families in Norwich, Hanover and Plainfield.
Mattern guessed the majority of the people she stole from, which were families for whom she babysat and house sat, were unaware that she’d taken items from them until she confessed to police. Mattern said in an interview that she came clean to police, even telling them about crimes they weren’t aware of, because she didn’t want to lie anymore. She has lawyers to represent her in both states, and she said she’s prepared to face the consequences. She pleaded not guilty to two charges of grand larceny in Windsor Superior Court this week.
Mattern, who grew up in Enfield and now lives in Canaan, said she will have been sober for 60 days on Sunday. She has weekly drug testing and is seeing a counselor.
She is also facing a charge of fraudulent use of a credit card in Lebanon District Court. Police allege she used a family member’s credit card in December to purchase $350 worth of groceries at Hannaford.
“The sickness of addiction is so awful that it makes you think and do and act in ways that you don’t think are possible for yourself,” Mattern said.
When police confronted Mattern about the crimes in December, she quickly confessed and ultimately wrote a 15-page statement outlining her crimes, the families she stole from and the items she recalled taking.
“I didn’t steal from faceless random people,” Mattern wrote in her statement to police. “I didn’t break into stranger’s homes to steal from them. I stole from my own friends and loved ones. I betrayed their trust and I broke their hearts. That I am ashamed of.”
Mattern first came onto the radar of Plainfield police when resident Reed Brozen reported items missing from his home on Ladieu Road in Plainfield. Mattern was a tenant in an apartment on Brozen’s property and often house and pet sat. Plainfield Police Chief Paul Roberts canvassed pawn shops for Brozen’s silverware, jewelry and foreign currency.
Many pawn shops took photos of Mattern’s photo ID next to the items she stole, and she allegedly sold many items to jewelry stores.
Roberts said in an interview this week that he asked to speak to Mattern and she agreed.
“She was very forthcoming with us,” Roberts said. “The first interview probably wasn’t as cooperative. But after that, she opened up.”
Police had requested a search warrant for Mattern’s home and cars, but she gave police consent to search her property without having to use the search warrants. She eventually told police about additional thefts and the items she remembered taking from each home.
The list of items that Mattern allegedly stole is lengthy, and it includes two sterling silver flatware sets that owners valued at $10,000 per set, jewelry, a gold wedding band, gift cards, sunglasses, gold coins, Confederate currency, silver salt and pepper shakers, cash in excess of $3,500, among other items, according to court documents.
In her statement to police, Mattern listed 11 addresses from which items had been taken, however, charges have only been filed in five of those cases.
Brozen said in an interview that he does not expect to recover many of his items, including a gold watch or the silver flatware set that belonged to his wife’s grandmother.
Roberts contacted Norwich Police Chief Doug Robinson and told him that Mattern said she had stolen from two residences in Norwich. When Robinson notified the two families, neither of them were aware of missing items.
Mattern worked for Nancy Katz, who lives in Norwich and said in an interview that her family had noticed that $200 was missing from her husband’s office. Katz said she questioned Mattern about the missing money, but Mattern claimed she knew nothing about it.
Mattern ultimately wrote in her statement to police that she took the $200.
Katz added that she and her husband still don’t know the extent of what Mattern took from them, but she said it’s not the value of the items that bothers her as much as that many of the items had sentimental value. For instance, Mattern allegedly stole a coin collection that Nancy Katz’s husband, Andrew, had collected as a young boy and planned to give to his children.
Mattern was hired in August to watch the Katz’s 8-year-old son after she was recommended by friends and neighbors, and Nancy Katz said it also was disappointing to lose a talented babysitter in Mattern.
“She has a gift and it needs to be used,” Katz said. “I hope for her that she can use it and put this all behind her.”
In Mattern’s statement to police, she described a drug habit that she tried without success to kick. She wrote that she would often steal items and keep them for a time, with the idea that she would just return them, but eventually, the items would be sold for drug money.
Mattern said in an interview that she first started using prescription drugs to self-medicate for dental pain, but the habit soon became recreational and then an addiction.
Her drug of choice was oxycontin, according to police, for which she would pay $40 to $45 for a 30 milligram pill.
“When I was doing it, I never thought about the impact that it would have on the families or the kids,” Mattern said. “My heart breaks in that way because I loved these people very much and I’m so very sorry that I did these things.”
Mattern said the court has ordered her not to have contact with the families, but she said she’s written them letters that she hopes to one day to send.
Sarah Brubeck can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3223.