BENNINGTON -- A former delivery route supervisor for the Bennington Banner who pleaded no contest to stealing money from newspaper boxes was given a largely suspended sentence on Thursday.
Nicholas E. Miller, 33, also known as Nicholas Sargent, of Rutland, was given a six- to 12-month sentence, all suspended except for 30 days. According to court documents, Miller was pre-approved for a community restitution program which he must serve eight hours a day for those 30 days. If he does not show up as scheduled or follow the Department of Correction’s instructions, he will be sent to jail without a hearing.
Miller was also placed on probation until April 30, 2016, and must attend drug treatment and submit to electronic monitoring as the Department of Corrections directs.
When he was first arraigned, Miller was facing a felony embezzlement charge as well as a habitual offender enhancement, meaning if he had been convicted of a new felony the state would not be limited as to what it could argue for a sentence in terms of years.
According to Bennington Police, in March 2013, Chris Oldham, circulation, sales & marketing manager for New England Newspapers Inc. - The Banner’s parent company - saw Miller driving one of the paper’s delivery vans on a day he was not scheduled to be doing so. He was seen with the van near two of the Banner newspaper boxes, which were empty when checked afterward. The boxes should have had several days worth of sales in them.
Police were told the amount that had allegedly been stolen could not be verified, but was estimated at around $300.
Miller denied taking the money when questioned by police, and said he had not been driving the van. However, a global positioning system in the van showed it had been out in the places and times Oldham had reported.
Miller said a former Banner employee had taken the money and had admitted as much to him in a letter, but the employee had since died. Miller said he lost the envelope the letter came in.