Plainfield Woman Pleads Guilty to Norwich Home Thefts
Megan Mattern listens to the terms of her sentence after she plead guilty to one count of grand larceny and one count of petty larceny for stealing money, jewelry, and other valuables from a Norwich family she worked for at the Windsor Superior Court in White River Junction, Vt., on March 27, 2014. Valley News - Sarah Priestap
White River Junction — A Plainfield woman pleaded guilty in Windsor Superior Court Thursday to stealing thousands of dollars worth of cash and valuable goods from homes in the Norwich area where she was working from November 2012 through October 2013.
Megan Mattern, 34, read an impassioned statement in which she expressed “sincerest remorse ... and full responsibility” for the thefts, while also speaking on the ills of addiction, which she said fueled her thefts.
“I not only stole things from them, I stole their peace of mind and serenity,” Mattern said. “They opened their hearts, minds, homes, and feelings up to me, and I treated it with utmost disrespect. I can never replace the things that I took. Some of it (was) irreplaceable, the sentimental value being worth far more than any amount of money ...
“Addiction is such a cunning enemy of life, a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” she continued. “It promises to be a friend to the friendless, hope to the hopeless, and life to the dying, but it lies. ... Addiction is prejudice to none, it will take anyone from any walk of life.”
On the lesser charge of petit larceny, Judge Karen Carroll sentenced Mattern to two to six months in prison, all suspended, and four years probation. Sentencing on the greater charge of grand larceny, for thefts from one home in excess of $900, was deferred for the probationary period. Special probation conditions include requiring Mattern to continue drug rehabilitation programs.
Each charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years.
Mattern was working as a home and pet sitter when she stole the cash and goods, including items such as silver flatware.
Prosecutor David Cahill said the state does not agree with some sentiments among the public that “an addict is blameless,” but said Mattern stood out in that she accepted responsibility from the beginning. There was a sense that she found it to be a “relief” to be caught, he said.
Charges against Mattern in New Hampshire, where she is alleged to have stolen from homes in Hanover, are still pending.
Mattern said she has been involved in multiple forms of rehabilitation therapy and has been clean and sober for more than 100 days. A 15-page hand-written statement from Mattern taken by Norwich Police last December described, in detail, the items she stole, as well as the panicked, guilt-ridden reactions she experienced when she stole them.
“Every time I stole anything, I would spend the whole day shaking, thinking, crying, puking,” she wrote. “Put it back, take it back out ... no, put it back. Couple hours later, feel so sick, ‘if you just get this over with you can go find something to get high, how does that sound? You can do it — just do it.’ ”
In court on Thursday, Carroll said she was impressed by Mattern’s statement, calling her articulate and a good writer, and assessing it as a “good description” of the situation.
After the hearing, Mattern said she had hoped that the families would have been present so she could have apologized to them. She has been prevented from contacting them, she said, but has written letters which she hopes to send soon.
Maggie Cassidy can be reached at email@example.com or 603-727-3220.