KEITH WHITCOMB JR.
BENNINGTON -- Police said a report from a woman who suspected she was witnessing a tool shed being broken into early Thursday morning led to the arrest of a Salem, N.Y. man.
Randy Persad, 36, pleaded not guilty later that day to a felony charge of burglary, and misdemeanor counts of possession of stolen property, and giving false information to a police officer. He was ordered held without bail because the state charged him as a habitual offender, meaning if he is convicted of a new felony the normal sentencing restrictions would not apply.
According to an affidavit by Bennington Police Officer Thalia Hudson, on Thursday at 12:41 a.m. a woman called police to say there was a loud truck near a shed on Park Street owned by Pembroke Landscaping. A number of officers responded to that area and stopped a truck matching the description they had been given. In the truck was Persad, who had wood chips in his hair. He told police he was a contractor and was in town to visit a friend but could not say that person’s name. He said he was lost and trying to find his way to Hoosick, N.Y. and had stopped to check his global position system (GPS).
Hudson said Persad could not name the tools he had in the bed of the pickup he was driving and got the brand name wrong on the one he could name. She wrote that the door of the shed in question appeared to have been kicked in, while the shed’s owner, Ronald Pembroke, identified the tools in the truck as being his. He estimated their value at approximately $900, according to police.
Deputy State’s Attorney Alexander Burke argued that Persad be held because he presents a risk of flight, owing to his have no ties to Vermont, and has an extensive criminal history involving theft and drug possession. He noted Persad is also on federal probation.
The state had charged Persad with a felony count of stolen property, claiming the items were valued over $900. Persad’s attorney, Michael Munson, argued that this was only an estimate. Judge Cortland Corsones found probable cause on the misdemeanor version of the charge and said the state could increase it later when it got more information.