Wednesday February 27, 2013

BENNINGTON -- A man is being charged with a felony after being accused of breaking what was claimed to be a $2,390 sign at a business on Elm Street.

Matthew J. Bortell, 27, of Farley Drive, pleaded not guilty Monday to a felony charge of unlawful mischief with damage exceeding $1,000. He was released on conditions he not go onto Elm Street.

According to an affidavit by Bennington Police Officer Thalia Hudson, on Feb. 1 at 2:45 a.m. she was called to Elm Street, where Adrian Alexis said he awoke to a banging noise and went outside to check on his car. He said he saw two males walking together and one was breaking the sign for Edward Jones Investments. Alexis described the male doing the breaking, saying he had a light-colored hoodie and a black backpack.

Hudson located a man matching that description by the former Mount Anthony Junior High School who identified himself as Bortell. He told police he had been on Elm Street earlier and was walking with a person named Corey but could not provide a last name and was not sure where Corey had gone. Alexis was able to identify Bortell as the person he saw break the sign.

The estimated cost of replacing the sign, which was broken in half, was $2,390 and came from Fastsigns National Advertising Council Inc., according to the affidavit.

-- Keith Whitcomb Jr.