A Vermont State Police detective said the armed robbery at a Wallingford gas station last month was staged by the store manager and her boyfriend to cover up an embezzlement of funds.
Detective Sgt. Albert Abdelnour said Thursday the surveillance video from the store tipped them off that the “robbery” was not as reported. He said the video showed store manager Kelly English, 32, and her boyfriend William Shaw, 30, both of Rutland, standing in the store, but Shaw was not standing in any way threatening toward English, as a person would do during a robbery.
“He was just standing idly behind her,” Abdelnour said. “It was weird seeing him stand there. At one point he is (also) seen holding the door open for her.”
The alleged robbery took place at the Smart Shop store at 172 North Main St. in Wallingford on March 26. The initial 911 complaint made by English, who is six months pregnant, said she was opening the shop when a man with a knife came up to her and forced her inside.
English told police the robber forced her into the bathroom, stole an undisclosed amount of cash and took her car keys. The vehicle was later recovered on Creek Road near the Route 4 overpass in North Clarendon.
Abdelnour said what they found in the car was also a hint that the robbery was staged. One of the two bank bags taken from the store was found in the car, but instead of money, police found a paperback romance.
He said the investigation also found English was embezzling money from the store’s deposits using a process referred to as “rolling deposits.”
“Basically you subtract $500 in (one day’s) deposit and use the other day’s money to cover it,” the detective said.
English started stealing just before Christmas, he said, adding that she took a total of about $9,650 to support a prescription drug addiction. That money, along with an $145 taken during the staged robbery, has not been recovered, Abdelnour said.
English and Shaw were arrested Thursday on charges of embezzlement and giving false information to police. They were lodged at the Rutland jail and will be arraigned today in Rutland criminal court.
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