WESTMINSTER -- Two Bellows Falls men pleaded not guilty to a slew of charges Wednesday, after allegedly burglarizing three area businesses this week.
Brian M. Brownell, 30, and Aaron C. Bush, 25, entered their pleas in Windham Superior Court: Criminal Division and could be slapped with as much as a combined 70 and a half years in jail and $6,500 in fines if convicted.
Brownell has been charged with two counts of aiding in the commission of a felony and one count of burglary. Deputy State's Attorney Steve Brown said Brownell was released on an appearance bond of $2,500 and had to post $250. Bush was charged with one count of burglary, two counts of attempted burglary and one count of unlawful mischief.
Brown told the Reformer that Bush committed these alleged crimes on Monday, hours after pleading guilty to alluding police and being sentenced to 59 to 60 days of work crew, which Brown said could include trash pick-up and other community service.
Brown said the work crew sentence has since been revoked and Bush will have to serve out the sentence in jail. He will be held on $10,000 bail for the newer crimes once the sentence is finished.
According to Vermont State Police, Brownell and Bush broke into and stole items from Allen Bros. and Mr. G's Warehouse in the early hours of Tuesday, April 23. They also attempted to break into Mountain Paul's General Store in Putney.
Police investigated an alarm at Allen Bros. shortly before 1 a.m. Troopers arrived and discovered fresh pry marks and wood debris at a rear door.
Less than an hour later, troopers responded to a complaint of two males breaking into Mr. G's Warehouse, which is located just north of Allen Bros. Troopers conducted a motor vehicle stop on a vehicle leaving the scene when they arrived and noticed the two male occupants matched the description given by the complainant. As the two men got out of the vehicle, the passenger dropped several watches and pieces of jewelry onto the ground, according to an affidavit from Trooper Michael Studin.
Troopers identified the two men as Brownell and Bush and determined they broke into Mr. G's and stole numerous items and attempted to break into Mountain Paul's and Allen Bros.
Allen Bros., which started off as farm stands in 1956, was severely damaged by Tropical Storm Irene in 2011 but got renovated and was reopened on Feb. 14, 2012.
Studin reports he observed, in plain view through the vehicle's windows, a wristwatch wrapped around a small pillow on the floor in front of the driver's seat, a gold wristwatch on a childseat of the vehicle and a long metal crowbar in the trunk area. He determined the head of the crowbar looked consistent with the markings on the exterior door at Allen Bros. Brownell did not consent to a search of the vehicle and Studin said he seized it in order to apply for a search warrant.
According to a police affidavit, Bush admitted to being addicted to heroin and pills. He said the plan was to steal items that he could sell or trade for drugs.
Brownell and Bush were processed at the Rockingham State Police Barracks, where they confessed to the burglaries and possession of stolen property, and lodged at the Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield.
Domenic Poli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.