BRATTLEBORO -- A Putney man has been charged with multiple offenses related to an alleged burglary spree and was released on $1,000 bail last week.
Gerald C. Sargent, 26, faces two charges of burglary and petit larceny and single charges of grand larceny, unlawful mischief and retail theft. He faces up to 43 years behind bars and a fine of not more than $10,000 if convicted.
According to police affidavits, Brattleboro Police Officer Jonathan Griffus responded to the Price Chopper parking lot on Canal Street on Monday, June 18, to interview a man who reported having a Fujitsu LifeBook T580 laptop and charger cable stolen from the passenger seat of his car. After speaking with the man Griffus observed that a window had been broken.
Griffus reports he contacted Price Chopper’s loss prevention manager and requested video surveillance footage for the day and time of the alleged theft. The loss prevention manager said surveillance was able to capture the theft of the laptop and a screwdriver from Price Chopper. Griffus said the footage showed Sargent entering the parking lot at approximately 10 a.m. and peering into various parked vehicles.
The video, according to Griffus, shows Sargent leaving the store with the stolen screwdriver at 10:05 and using it to break into the victim’s vehicle two minutes later before taking the laptop and walking away. Griffus said he interviewed Sargent at the Brattleboro Police
According to Griffus, Sargent confessed to seeing the laptop in the vehicle and stealing the screwdriver specifically for the purpose of taking the computer. Sargent then told Griffus he sold the laptop for money to buy drugs, though he did not purchase any.
For these offenses, Sargent was charged with grand larceny, unlawful mischief and retail theft.
According to police documents, Griffus responded to Diane’s Hair Express for a report of a burglary on Sunday, Aug. 5, about a month after Officer Adam Belville investigated one at the same location. Belville interviewed the salon’s owner, who said someone broke into her business and stole $50 from the cash register. Belville and Brattleboro Detective Erik Johnson processed the crime scene and sent evidence to the Vermont Forensic Lab for evaluation.
On Aug. 5, Griffus processed the scene with Detective Johnson and Detective Lt. Michael Carrier and determined that someone stole roughly $22 worth of coins. Griffus also saw a window slightly left open and a storage shelf knocked onto the floor in a storage room in the rear of the building.
He then saw what appeared to be an attempt to gain entry from window-mounted air conditioners. He continued around the building and observed a stained glass window and a window screen lying outside the window, used for entry. He said he noticed pry marks that looked as though they had been made by a flat-head screwdriver.
Griffus said the damage included the stained glass window valued at $1,000, the exterior screen worth $100 and the window woodwork with a $200 value. A curtain rod damaged sells for about $5 according to the affidavit.
Griffus said he then met with Sargent in reference to the laptop theft and several other burglaries around town.
He explained to Sargent the force used to break into the salon appeared to be done by prying open different entry points with a flat-head screwdriver, which Sargent had previously admitted to stealing from Price Chopper. Sargent was shown photographs of the pry marks and agreed the marks appeared to be made with a flat-head screwdriver.
Griffus explained someone broke in to steal cash and not merchandise, which is indicative of someone who needs money to fund a drug habit and does not have time to sell any items. Griffus brought up Sargent’s admittance to having a drug addiction and that the salon crimes pointed at him.
Johnson eventually joined the conversation and told Sargent he was not a violent individual and chose not to destroy anyone’s property while taking the money. After a while, Sargent asked Johnson to leave the room and then told Griffus he committed both crimes at the salon because he wanted to get high and said he twice broke into the salon. He said he stole approximately $20 the first time and roughly $30 the second. He was cited with two counts of burglary and two counts of petit larceny for the salon crimes.
A court date for Sargent has not yet been scheduled.
Domenic Poli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277.