BARRE — One of the locals who police say was involved in a string of daytime burglaries at central Vermont homes over the past few months is being held on bail after allegedly violating his conditions of release by stealing change from cars early Thursday.
In addition, a fourth defendant has been added to the case.
Tyler C. White, 20, of Barre, pleaded not guilty Thursday in Washington County criminal court in Barre to one count of violating conditions of release. If convicted, he faces a maximum of six months in jail on that charge.
White was arraigned on two charges of felony burglary in Chittenden County criminal court in Burlington on Monday. He was also arraigned Wednesday in Orange County criminal court in Chelsea on two counts of felony burglary. If convicted on the burglary charges, he faces a maximum of 60 years in prison.
Also in Chelsea court on Wednesday, a fourth suspect, Crystal Barney, 23, of Barre, pleaded not guilty to one count of felony burglary. She faces a maximum of 15 years in prison.
Two others had already denied two counts each of felony burglary Monday. Justin G. Barcomb, 21, of Barre, was arraigned in Burlington. He faces a maximum of 15 years in prison. Moriah L. Benway, 18, of Barre Town, was arraigned in Barre. She also pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Chelsea to an additional count of felony burglary. She faces a maximum of 45 years in prison.
According to the Vermont State Police affidavit, there has been a string of break-ins in Washington, Orange and Lamoille counties since February, all with similar characteristics: They happened during the day, the front doors were kicked in, and the thieves took change and jewelry and removed pillowcases from the homes.
Between Feb. 17 and March 10, police say, 10 such burglaries occurred: four in Orange County and six in Washington and Lamoille counties.
On March 10, Barney told police she was involved in a Feb. 17 burglary in Washington, according to the affidavit. Barney told police that she, White and two other people went to a home on Lowery Road but that she was unaware there were plans to burglarize it. She said White went to the front door, knocked to see whether anyone was home, and then kicked in the door. Barney said White and another man went inside and took a large change jar and jewelry.
Another burglary occurred April 22 on Route 14 in East Calais. The burglars kicked in the front door between 9 and 11 a.m. and took a pillowcase, ammunition and a safe that contained coins, baseball cards, jewelry and $2,500 in cash, police say.
On May 6, a burglary was reported on East Roxbury Road in Roxbury. State police say a pillowcase, change jars and prescription medication were stolen.
Video surveillance captured a burglary May 7 at a home on Graniteville Road in Williamstown, police say. On the video, police say, four people are seen backing into the home’s driveway in a white Subaru.
Police say White was seen getting out of the car, taking a package off the front porch and then entering the home by forcing a window open. White then came out the front door with a pillowcase and climbed into the vehicle, which drove away, according to the affidavit. Change, jewelry and electronics were reportedly stolen from the home.
Police say they went to Benway’s residence May 10 and found the white Subaru in the driveway. Police spoke with Benway and Barcomb, who was also there. Barcomb denied any involvement in the burglaries, but when police searched the Subaru — with his consent — they found minor pieces of jewelry and packaging with the name and address of a Roxbury residence burglarized May 6, according to the affidavit. Barcomb told police he didn’t know why the packaging was in the vehicle.
Barcomb and Benway were taken into custody. White was also taken into custody, but police didn’t say how he was located.
Police say Benway admitted she and friends committed many of the burglaries but could not recall all of them. She said they would drive for hours until they found a house to break into. She said there wasn’t a specific house they would target, just one where it looked as if no one was home.
In court Thursday, White was ordered held on $7,500 bail on the violating conditions of release charge after police say he was found with two other people around 4:20 a.m. walking on Abbott Avenue in Barre. White is under a 24-hour curfew as a condition of his release in both the Washington and Orange county cases.
According to the police affidavit, White admitted going through two vehicles and taking change. Police say $22.83 in change was found in his pockets.
He is being held at Northeast Regional Correctional Facility in St. Johnsbury.
White also is facing charges in Washington County of felony unlawful trespass into an occupied residence, misdemeanor unlawful trespass and simple assault.
On the felony charge, police say White knocked on the door of a Pearl Street apartment in Barre and pushed his way in. Once inside, police say, he pistol-whipped a man, hitting him in the head, and threatened to kill him if he left the room.
Police say White admitted going to the man’s apartment to tell him to leave his mother alone. White has two convictions of simple assault in 2012. Benway has a conviction of retail theft from July. Barney has convictions of disorderly conduct in October and domestic assault in 2011.
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