BENNINGTON — A second person has been charged with robbing two Martin's Mobil Mini Mart employees at gunpoint last week. He has also been charged with robbing Subway at knifepoint in July, and is facing drug charges from a separate incident.
On Jan. 11, Bennington Police responded to Martin's Mobil at 12:30 a.m. because two employees reported being robbed on their way to a nearby bank to make an overnight deposit. They said two men wearing masks came up to them, one of whom displayed a handgun, and told them to hand over the money they were carrying, which they did.
The ensuing investigation led police to speak with Austin R. Mayhew, 27, of Bennington, who said John T. Chinnici, 30, was the person who held the gun and demanded the money while he, Mayhew, picked up the envelope containing $1,700 the employees threw to the ground.
On Friday, Chinnici pleaded not guilty to a felony count of assault and armed robbery with a deadly weapon, and a misdemeanor count of false information to police. He was held for lack of $100,000 bail.
On Tuesday, Mayhew pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Vermont Superior Court to two felony counts of assault and robbery with a weapon, and burglary. He was arraigned in Rutland where he is being held at the Marble Valley Correctional Facility for lack of $50,000 bail.
He also pleaded not guilty to felony counts of depressant/stimulant/narcotic sale, and conspiracy to sell drugs. These charges stemmed from an incident on Jan. 3 where he allegedly bought blood-thinner pills from Fernando Corrales, 52, thinking they were Oxycodone pills. Corrales was later charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and other charges, for allegedly attacking Mayhew with a baseball bat.
Also arraigned Tuesday, in Bennington criminal court, was Vanessa J. Garcia, 25, of Bennington. She pleaded not guilty to assault and robbery, and burglary, as well as conspiracy to sell drugs. She was released under a 24-hour curfew at a Main Street address. She's not allowed to go to Martin's Mobil Mini Mart, nor Subway.
Chinnici, Mayhew, and Garcia are also not allowed to have contact with each other.
According to the affidavit, while being questioned, Chinnici told police he heard Mayhew and Garcia say they robbed the Subway on North Street in July. He said Garcia told him she drove Mayhew to the restaurant, which he robbed at knifepoint, then drove him away.
On Nov. 19, at 2:58 a.m., a burglary alarm was activated at Marin's Mobil. A surveillance video showed a person force their way in then go right to a box where $4,470 was being kept, along with $200 in change.
Police said they learned Garcia, in November, had gone to the Hannaford's supermarket in Bennington to turn in $150 in change.
Chinnici also told police he heard Mayhew admitting to the burglary at Martin's, and that Mayhew knew where the money was kept because a relative of his knows and employee there.
Police said that on Jan. 14, they executed a search warrant at Mayhew and Garcia's apartment, taking them both into custody. Police said Mayhew admitted to helping rob the Martin's employees, but he denied the burglary, and robbing Subway.
Garcia was questioned by police about the Martin's burglary, and said, "I don't want to put anymore nails in Austin's coffin." She then asked if Mayhew was going to jail for "the 50 robberies he had committed."
She told police the coins she took to Hannaford's were the ones she earned when she was an employee at Subway during July and August.
According to police, Garcia was fired from Subway after it was discovered she had embezzled about $800 from it. After the discovery, she agreed to pay it back and signed over her paycheck on Sept. 15.
Chinnici had told police that Garcia gave her knowledge of the store's layout to Mayhew so he could rob it.
Mayhew and Garcia were arrested on Jan. 15, the same day Chinnici was being arraigned, at their place of employment.