Friday May 17, 2013

Police: Shrubs stolen from porch

EAST DORSET -- Police are investigating the theft of potted, flowering shrubs from a man’s porch on Mad Tom Road.

State Police said Robert Yakaitis, 58, reported the theft on May 13. An eyewitness told authorities that the shrubs had been taken at approximatley 2:30 p.m. The incident happend just one day after a similar incident in which several flowers were ripped from the ground at a different location on Mad Tom Road. Authorities are not certian if the two matters are related.

Anyone with information is asked to call State Police at 802-442-5421. Information can also be submitted anonymously at www.vtips.info or by texting to the number 274637 (CRIMES) the keyword VTIPS followed by the information you wish to give.

-- Bailey O’Neill

Driver suffers minor injuries in crash

POWNAL -- State Police said a man was taken to North Adams Regional Hospital with minor injuries after he failed to stop at the intersection of Hidden Valley Road and Ladd Road and struck a tree.

The driver, Matthew Stratton, 33, was in a 2003 Nissan truck which received heavy damage to the front. Police said Stratton suffered minor abrasions and was not wearing a seat belt.

-- Keith Whitcomb Jr.

Former lawman pleads not guilty in US gun case

BURLINGTON (AP) -- A former Vermont police officer has pleaded not guilty to a series of federal gun and tax charges.

Phil Ciotti, 56, entered the pleas to six charges Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Burlington. Ciotti’s court appearance came a week after he was indicted on federal gun and tax charges and about 21 months after federal agents raided his St. Johnsbury home and seized 550 firearms.

Among the charges filed against Ciotti, a licensed federal firearms dealer, were that he didn’t pay enough taxes and that he made improper gun sales, The Burlington Free Press reports.

One count accused him of selling three firearms Feb. 8, 2009, without keeping proper records, including the name, age or address of the buyer. He’s also accused of not conducting a national instant criminal background check on April 7, 2010, before transferring two firearms to a person who was not a licensed dealer.

A former Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent whose home was searched at the same time as Ciotti, Richard Bernholz, 58, of Franklin, agreed to plead guilty to filing a false tax return and aiding and abetting in the failure to keep adequate records by a federal firearms licensee.

Ciotti, a former St. Johnsbury police officer and Caledonia County deputy sheriff, has worked for about 12 years as an investigator with the Vermont Medical Practice Board.

He was placed on administrative leave on Monday.