BENNINGTON — A man accused of robbing a local theater at gunpoint last year has been extradited to Vermont after being held in a New York correctional facility, court records show.
Christopher D. Lyttle, 33, was arrested by New York authorities in the Shushan area on Jan. 19, according to documents filed in Berkshire County Superior Court, Criminal Division. Lyttle has not been charged in Vermont, but has been held at the Washington Correctional Facility in Comstock, N.Y. Lyttle requested trial in Vermont based on the Interstate Agreement on Detainers.
On Wednesday, Lyttle, who police said is a former employee of the theater, pleaded not guilty in Vermont Superior Court to felony counts of assault and robbery, kidnapping, and kidnapping through threat of bodily injury. Probable cause was not found for a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Lyttle will be held without bail in the Marble Valley Regional Correctional Facility in Rutland. He is represented by the Public Defender's office and will appear in court again on Dec. 11 for a status conference.
The robbery at the theater originally took place on June 11, 2014. According to an affidavit filed by Bennington Police, police received a call at 10:37 p.m. from Bennington Cinemas saying that two people had entered the theater wearing dark clothes and hockey masks, carrying handguns, and forced a female employee to open a safe in a rear office.
The male robber, the only one who spoke, took a female employee's cell phone and cut the office's land line. He told her to put money from the safe into a shopping bag and not to leave the office or she would be shot. He also said there was someone in the parking lot waiting to shoot if they left the building.
The two robbers stole $1,857.
During the investigation, police were told Lyttle had previously worked at the theater and may have been involved in the robbery. Police also suspected Lyttle was involved because, in video surveillance footage from inside the theater, one of the two robbers appeared to have intimate knowledge of where counter latches were and where money was kept.
During the investigation, police also learned that Lyttle had been living with Star M. Crandall in a home on Overlea Road.
Police interviewed Crandall in January while she was incarcerated in South Burlington on unrelated charges. During the interview, she admitted to being involved and said that Lyttle pressured her into helping. At the time, she said he is living in Shushan, N.Y., likely still has the guns, and is also probably planning another robbery.
Crandall pleaded guilty on Sept. 30 to felony counts of grand larceny, assault and robbery, and burglary. She was ordered to pay $1,000 to Bennington Cinemas and sentenced to serve between three and 10 years in prison. As part of the plea agreement with the Bennington County State's Attorney's Office, the state dropped two of her counts of kidnapping and one count of aggravated assault.
Contact Edward Damon at 413-770-6979