BRATTLEBORO — A local fire chief was allegedly recorded discussing the theft of a snowplow and a log splitter from Tri-Park Cooperative Housing Corp. in West Brattleboro.
The recordings were reported in an affidavit filed in Windham Superior Court, Criminal Division, against Rusty Sage, 46, who was placed on administrative leave Jan. 5 as chief of the Marlboro Volunteer Fire Company.
On Tuesday morning, Sage pleaded not guilty to one count of grand larceny and was released on conditions.
Officers with the Brattleboro Police Department began an investigation into the theft Jan. 14 after receiving a report from Tri-Park that two pieces of equipment had been stolen from the park’s maintenance building.
Officer Justin Abualjadail heard from park managers that Rusty Sage and another person took the snowplow worth $4,000 to $5,000 and a log splitter worth $1,000 to $2,000.
Abualjadail received a recording from a former Tri-Park employee in which Sage “can be heard discussing his plan to replace the Tri-Park plow with another plow as cover if Rusty is stopped and questioned,” states the affidavit. Sage also is recorded as saying, “Don’t say anything else, you don’t know anything else, you don’t know if [the plow is] still there ... “
Sage appeared at the Brattleboro Police Department to give a statement, saying he thought the plow was meant for scrap, though he added, “Technically, I guess I stole it ...”
Sage disavowed any knowledge of the stolen log splitter, but is heard on another recording discussing ways of returning the splitter without anyone knowing it, states the affidavit.
Sage lives in the Deepwoods Mobile Home Park, next to Tri-Park, but is not part of the cooperative.
At the time of his arrest, Sage told the Reformer he believes the matter will be cleared up at his arraignment.
Sage is a former Brattleboro firefighter. He worked there from 2003 to 2021.
Deputy Fire Chief Andrew Richardson was appointed acting fire chief after Sage was cited.