Two held in connection with robberies
Police say they had just hours before arrested and released both men — Douglas D. Dugan, 58, and Kerry W. LaFlamme, 59, both of Bennington — after they unlawfully entered a Gore Road home. No one was injured in any of the incidents.
Both men denied multiple charges at their arraignments before Judge John W. Valente in Bennington criminal court on Friday. They will return for a joint bail review and weight of evidence hearing to determine what, if any, release conditions and bail could be set pending the outcome of their cases.
Bennington officers were called to the 100 block of Gore Road at about 4:52 p.m. Thursday. A resident told police she saw two men walking in her driveway before they knocked loudly on the home's back door. Both men entered the house without being let in and left when residents told them to leave. No items were reported missing, according to a court affidavit.
Two men who matched their description were found on Beech Street. Identified as Dugan and LaFlamme, they told officers they were trying to sell meat they had bought earlier.
Police took both into custody and cited them for unlawful trespass. When Dugan was searched, he had a folding knife and two needles. In bags were raw meat with Price Chopper stickers and alcoholic beverages. "Both advised they did not plan on following the curfew imposed upon them by the court and denied any wrong-doing," Officer Michael Sharshon wrote.
Judge David A. Howard released them both on conditions without bail.
At about 6:32 p.m., officers were called for a robbery at the Family Dollar at 120 Depot St. An employee reported a man with a hat pulled down over his nose unfolded a note that instructed him to give him all the money before leaving with about $173, according to a court affidavit.
Store surveillance footage allegedly showed Dugan, whom officers recognized by his facial hair, boots and the tan Carhartt jacket he was wearing earlier on Gore Road, "under now another black jacket which LaFlamme was wearing earlier also." Dugan handed the employee a note written on a flyer taken from the Bennington Police Department's lobby with a pen borrowed from a dispatcher, Sgt. Jason Burnham wrote. The note said, "This is a hold up give us all you money or be hurt." (sic) In the video, Dugan is allegedly unfolding the same knife that was returned to him earlier.
An attempted robbery was reported at about 7:52 p.m. at Dominoes Pizza at 749 Main St. An employee told police a man had entered the store and told her to give him money, "making a pointing gesture like a gun with his hand near the credit card reader saying he has a knife." The man left without getting any money. The employees' description of the man matched that of Dugan's, according to the affidavit.
Both Dugan and LaFlamme were eventually located and arrested at a Main Street residence.
In the earlier incident, LaFlamme pleaded not guilty to felony unlawful trespass of an occupied residence. In the case of the alleged robberies, he pleaded not guilty to felony assault and robbery with a weapon and attempted assault and robbery with a weapon, and misdemeanor violating release conditions.
Dugan pleaded not guilty to the same charges. And in the alleged unlawful trespass case, he pleaded not guilty to a felony count of carrying a weapon to commit a crime.
Ed Damon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @edamon_banner on Twitter and 802-447-7567, ext. 111.
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