KEITH WHITCOMB JR.
BENNINGTON - Bennington Police say the have recovered the rest of the equipment reported stolen in July from Catamount Access Television while the man they suspect of having possessed the items was arraigned Wednesday in Vermont Superior Court.
George A. Mannoia, 36, of North Branch Street, pleaded not guilty to two felony counts of possession of stolen property. He was ordered held without bail until Friday when a hearing will take place to determine what, if any, conditions he can be released on the ensure his future court appearances.
In July, police said CAT-TV was broken into and $31,000 in equipment was stolen. A short time afterward they arrested Joshua D. Mylott, 23, of Observatory Street, who then pleaded not guilty to 14 felonies. Police said they tied him and Merlin Merrow, 26, to the CAT-TV theft as well as approximately half a dozen other burglaries and attempted burglaries at local businesses. Police recovered some of the stolen property at the house where Mylott was staying, and another home in Bennington. Merrow had already been incarcerated and it is not clear if he has yet been arraigned on new charges.
According to an affidavit by Bennington Police Officer James A. Gulley Jr., on July 26 he cited a woman for allegedly stealing from a local department store and told her that if she knew anything about a theft that had been reported at a construction site, he would appreciate being told. On Aug. 19, police were approached by a man who has some connection to the woman they had spoken to, and he told police he knew where the unrecovered items from CAT-TV were.
The woman provided a statement to police with the understanding that her help would be considered for her own criminal case. She wrote that on Aug. 16 she went to Mannoia’s apartment to give him stolen clothes, facial creams, and electronics in exchange for drugs. She said Mannoia told her the items were not good enough and that he would only give her a $20 Suboxone pill for $200 in stolen goods.
Suboxone is a prescription drug used to treat opiate addiction.
She told police she had been in Mannoia’s apartment numerous times before and had seen power tools, cell phones, "high-end" cameras, flat screen televisions, and items that fit what had been reported taken from Cat-TV.
The man police spoke to said he has traded stolen items to Mannoia for Suboxone. He said this occurred behind the Bank of Bennington on what he called the "hippie trail." He told police Mannoia had a number of other drugs with him and Mannoia offered to sell him power tools.
Police searched Mannoia’s home and recovered computer equipment and tools they believed were taken from the site where the new Merchant’s Bank is being built on Northside Drive, and from Bennington Potters.
Police said Mannoia told them he also knew where the CAT-TV cameras were and could produce them if he was allowed to make a phone call. Police permitted this and the cameras and a television were recovered having been placed by some trash bins. Police said the cameras were estimated to cost $18,000 while the computer equipment and tools was valued at $5,700.
Mannoia had been on house arrest at the time, police said, and has an extensive drug-related criminal history in Vermont and Florida.