Bellows Falls man arrested on 99 charges

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BELLOWS FALLS — A Bellows Falls man was arrested and charged with 99 crimes stemming from a burglary spree in the Londonderry area that spanned two years.

Travis J. Despain, 27, who is formerly from Londonderry, was arrested by Vermont State Police Tuesday and released on a citation to report to Windham criminal court next month.

Windham County State's Attorney Tracy Kelly Shriver said Despain is currently on furlough and has previously been charged and convicted with similar offenses, including stealing silver bullion bars from his grandfather.

Shriver said Despain was addicted to drugs, and had been in and out of drug treatment. She said he had felony convictions in Rutland County in 2017 for possession of heroin and cocaine.

Despain was charged with burglaries of churches, town offices, schools, stores, ski areas, businesses, restaurants and homes, took valuables worth more than $35,000 and caused more than $5,300 in property damage during the burglaries. He was charged with 39 counts of burglary, 34 counts of unlawful mischief and 26 counts of larceny.

His burglaries allegedly took place in three different counties: Windham, Windsor and Bennington in towns including Londonderry, Winhall, Weston, Windham, Jamaica, Andover, South Londonderry and Peru. The reported incidents stretched from May 3, 2015 until April 3, 2017. There were no charges from 2016.

Vermont State Police Sgt. Ryan Wood said in a series of emails that investigators were able to charge Despain with the series of Londonderry-area burglaries after they gathered corroborating statements from people with personal knowledge of the crimes.

He said Despain had been a person of interest in the burglaries since shortly after they were reported.

Wood said Despain acted alone in some of the burglaries, but he estimated that in 80 percent of the cases, Despain was working with someone. He said the cases are still under investigation, and he expected other people would be charged.

He said cash was a primary target, as well as items that could be easily sold or traded. "The money gained was more often than not used to supply (the) individual's opiate addiction," he wrote. He said other items taken included televisions, clothing and ski gear, jewelry and tools.

The state police sergeant said the case was still being developed, and it "seemed wise to be prudent and prepare the case to its fullest before its submission" to the state's attorney's office for arraignment.

Shriver said Despain's criminal charges started in 2014, and in 2015 he was charged with grand larceny for stealing his grandfather's silver bars. The grandfather and Despain's parents were supportive of him, and in a plea agreement, restitution was reduced to $4,000 as long as Despain obtained his high school diploma, Shriver said. He originally received a four-year deferred sentence, but he violated conditions of release and in September 2016, he was sentenced to serve 18 to 36 months. He is currently on furlough, she said.

She said while the list of burglaries Despain is facing is long, it was not unprecedented.

Despain is also facing charges in Sullivan County in New Hampshire that include receiving stolen property and forgery of a government instrument in Claremont, N.H., according to a court clerk at Sullivan County Superior Court in Newport, N.H.

Wood urged people with information or questions to contact him at the Vermont State Police's Westminster barracks at 802-722-4600.

Contact Susan Smallheer at ssmallheer@reformer.com or at 802 254-2311, ext. 154.

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