BENNINGTON -- A Pawlet man pleaded not guilty Tuesday to stealing his employer's van and selling it for scrap metal last year.
Robert Mackey, 31, was charged with felony counts of grand larceny, and aggravated vehicle operation without the owner's consent. He posted on $2,500 bail and was released on the conditions he live in Rutland County and not contact Vincent Annunziata.
According to an affidavit by Winhall Police Officer Douglas Wright, on April 10, 2013, he spoke to Annunziata, general manager of Fat Spy/Stone's Lodge on River Road in Winhall. Annunziata said a white van owned by the business had gone missing and that Mackey was the last known person to have the use of it. He said Mackey was overhead saying if he could get the title to the vehicle he could sell it for scrap.
Wright spoke to two Fat Spy employees who said they heard Mackey making comments about selling the van to a scrap yard.
Wright spoke to Mackey's mother, who said her son had asked her for money was told no. She later told police that he called her and said "Vinny" told him he could have a van in lieu of wages he was owed through work at the Fat Spy. The mother told police her son had sold the van to an automotive business near Granville, New York.
Police learned from Kelly Auto in Hebron, New York, that Mackey had sold the business a white van labeled "Fat Spy" for $400. He was in the company of a woman in a silver car at the time.
The van was purchased by Luminata LLC, owner of the Fat Spy, in 2012 for $5,000.
Employees at Kelly Auto said they had already sold the van's tires and battery for a total of $220. If sold whole, they said the van is worth between $2,000 and $3,000.
The employees said Mackey had removed blankets from the van after selling it, making them think he had been living in it. They had also been contacted by Mackey's mother, asking if Mackey had dropped off the van yet. She called a second time to say the van was reported stolen and she would report it to police. She offered to pay the company the $400 it paid for the van.
Police were unable to locate Mackey.
Deputy State's Attorney Alexander Burke said Tuesday that Winhall Police got a tip recently that Mackey was working in Manchester. He was subsequently arrested.
Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.