KEITH WHITCOMB JR., Staff Writer
BENNINGTON -- A Pownal man is accused of stealing a woman’s electronics and forging checks in her name in order to feed a heroin addiction.
Nathan A. Gray, 24, pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Vermont Superior Court to two felony counts of forgery, one felony burglary charge, and a misdemeanor count of possession of stolen property. He was held on $2,500 but posted it and was released. He is under a number of conditions, including that he not contact the alleged victim or contact his girlfriend, who police cited as an accessory. He is not allowed to leave Bennington County except to enter residential treatment for drug addiction or for court dates in Massachusetts.
According to an affidavit by Bennington Police, on Jan. 21 they received a letter from a Pownal woman saying her home had been broken into via a window on Jan. 15. A Bose speaker, a Kindle e-reader, an iPhone, and an iPod were missing. In total they were worth $700.
It was later learned that bank checkbooks from the woman’s house were also missing. Police discovered Gray had cashed a check written to himself from the woman’s check book for $200 at the Heritage Family Credit Union at 206 Pleasant St. The woman said she never wrote such a check. Gray attempted to cash a second check at the credit union, but it refused.
While investigating an alleged burglary into a business on Northside Drive, which the affidavit did not provide information on, police learned Gray had been kicked out of his house for allegedly stealing things to feed a drug addiction. Police were told Gray might be with his girlfriend, Desiree Odvar, 23.
Police spoke to Odvar, who told them she and Gray are addicted to heroin and have been stealing to fund drug purchases. She said she assisted Gray by driving him around while he would enter homes. Odvar said she wrote out the checks stolen from the Pownal residence, but Gray forged the signature using a piece of glass and another document with the owner’s signature.
She said the $200 from the check was used to buy heroin in Pittsfield, Mass.
According to Odvar, Gray gave her a Kindle but she gave it back to him on learning it was stolen. She said the other items had likely been sold in Pittsfield, but she did not know exactly where.
Police said Odvar has been cited to appear in Vermont Superior Court on March 3 to face an accessory charge.
Gray came to the Bennington Police Station on Feb. 3 in the company of his attorney, William D. Wright, and did not provide police with a statement.
Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.