Detective Sgt. Valerie Cummings has been named as Vinton Police Officer of the Month for November.
On October 31, 2017, Officer Jeremy Shrewsbury responded to a breaking and entering that occurred at a residence on Pollard Street. According to the victim, someone had broken into her apartment and several drawers had been left open. There was evidence that the door had been pried open— there was splintering in the wood around the lock.
Officers entered the residence, secured it, and began collecting evidence. Missing items were noted, including jewelry that belonged to her daughter from a jewelry box that had been emptied. The case was turned over to investigators.
Cummings began her investigation by interviewing other tenants that live in the complex.
“Some of the tenants had seen a strange person sitting in the common area of the complex that morning, but didn’t know who he was,” said Vinton Police Chief Tom Foster. “Through her questioning of those tenants, she was able to determine that the suspect was known to the other two tenants she had questioned previously, the same ones that said they didn’t know the person.
“Detective Cummings had felt that they weren’t being truthful to her at the time, and did voice her concern to them, which led to one of the tenants sharing some text messages with Detective Cummings that confirmed her suspicions and named a possible suspect,” Foster added.
“After an exhaustive search, to include phone call recordings, fingerprint eliminations, and looking into an incident in which the suspect tried to sell jewelry to a gentleman who gave him a ride– the gentleman then reported his wallet stolen by the suspect– she obtained warrants for burglary and grand larceny on the suspect for this incident,” said Foster.
“Through her persistence and great investigative skills, Detective Cummings was able to solve a very difficult investigation,” Foster said in announcing to Town Council that her fellow officers had chosen Cummings for Officer of the Month honors.