BENNINGTON — A man accused of threatening two people with a weapon during a Craigslist transaction on Monday is being held without bail.
Nathan G. Spencer, 31, pleaded not guilty to felony charges in Bennington Superior Court on Tuesday after he allegedly pulled a knife on two people who said they were trying to sell a car.
According to an affidavit filed by Bennington Police Officer Andrew W. Hunt, authorities were dispatched on Monday at 8:30 p.m. for a report of a man pulling a knife on people. Two individuals, a 24-year-old man and an 18-year-old woman, told police they listed their vehicle for sale on the classified advertising website Craigslist. They said they were contacted by a man, whom police later identified as Spencer, and made arrangements to meet him in the parking lot of Carbone Toyota on North Bennington Road. Spencer, joined by another man, arrived at the business in a small SUV.
One seller told police Spencer sat in the car's driver's seat and started the car, although a test drive was not discussed. The seller said he jumped into the passenger seat before Spencer drove quickly out of the parking lot into traffic. After the seller threatened to call police and took out a cell phone, Spencer allegedly slapped the device from the seller's hand.
Upon returning to the parking lot, Spencer repeatedly told the sellers he would only pay $300 for the car, which was less than the advertised price. After a disagreement, Spencer allegedly drew a knife from his pocket and opened it, leading the seller to believe Spencer was going to stab them. When an employee of the business intervened, Spencer left in the small SUV.
Police later spotted the small SUV at Carpenter Hill Road travelling south towards Pownal. The driver told police he had driven Spencer to see a car listed for sale on Craigslist and that he did witness an altercation, but denied seeing a knife.
Police ultimately located Spencer at his home on Harwood Hill Road in Bennington. Spencer told police the seller "was going crazy," had threatened him and tried to fight him. Spencer denied having a knife and told police he left when the seller threatened him. Spencer also said the seller had kicked and hit the small SUV he arrived in, a detail the police affidavit notes is not consistent with interviews with others. Spencer was not interviewed further as he requested an attorney upon his arrest.
Judge Cortland T. Corsones ordered Spencer be held without bail at Marble Valley Correctional Facility, Rutland until a weight of evidence hearing is held.
Spencer pleaded not guilty to felony charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and unlawful restraint in the second degree, as well as misdemeanor charges of vehicle operation without owner consent and interference with access to emergency services. Corsones did not find probably cause for a misdemeanor charge of unlawful mischief $250 or less.
Contact Edward Damon at 413-770-6979