BENNINGTON -- A Sunderland man is facing a felony charge of embezzlement after his employer accused him of stealing nails from a job site and returning them to a store for cash.

Travis M. Winchell, 20, pleaded not guilty Monday in Vermont Superior Court to a felony count of embezzlement, and a misdemeanor count of possession of stolen property. He was released without bail.

According to an affidavit by Vermont State Trooper Lauren Ronan, on Nov. 1 she spoke to an employee of James Davis, who said two other employees had returned a box of siding nails taken from a job site on Red Mountain Road in Arlington. The nails were returned to a local lumber store in exchange for cash. An employee at the lumber store said a Davis employee had returned a box of nails, but there had been no receipt and it was unclear as to which employee it was.

The return was for approximately $60.

It was believed that either Winchell or another employee had made the return.

According to Davis, none of his employees are authorized to do such things.

Winchell and the other employee denied stealing nails, but Winchell said he did return siding nails he bought on his own.

Ronan said she left them, saying she was going to investigate further, and about 20 minutes later got a call from the lumber store saying something suspicious had happened just then.

A black male had come in asking about the siding nails and seemed confused.


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The lumber employee said Winchell and the second employee Ronan had questioned were outside in the parking lot.

Winchell was questioned again and this time admitted to stealing the nails because of an argument he had with Davis.

Winchell said he acted alone and did not wish to see the other employee charged. Winchell spent the money he received on assorted items.

Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at kwhitcomb@benningtonbanner.com or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.