BENNINGTON — A 44-year-old man is accused of using a stun gun on a 14-year-old boy because he thought the child had stolen a bicycle.
Michael Yeager, of Bennington, pleaded not guilty Monday in Vermont Superior Court Criminal Division to felony counts of assault and robbery, and aggravated stalking of someone under 16. He was released without bail and while the case is pending is not allowed contact with the boy or his mother, nor is he allowed within 300 feet of them or their residence.
According to an affidavit by Bennington Police Cpl. Christopher Lauzon, on Sunday he spoke to a teenager who'd been riding his blue and green "Mongoose" brand bicycle on Beech Street when a heavy-set man driving a van followed him, told him the bicycle was stolen, then took it after shocking him in the arm with a pink stun gun.
The boy's father said the bicycle was purchased three months ago and showed police a bill of sale for it. It had been bought from another person for $50.
Lauzon was speaking to another officer about the matter in another location when Yeager approached them and said "I think I may have done something wrong."
He said he was driving down Beech Street when he saw a boy on a bicycle like the one a friend of his used to have before it was stolen two weeks before. He told the boy the bicycle was stolen then picked it up after the boy dropped it and ran off.
When asked if he'd used a stun gun on the boy, Yeager said, "You would have to prove I had a (stun gun)."
Yeager said he'd made a mistake and offered to give the boy $60 for the bicycle. Later, he turned the bicycle over to police.
Reach Keith Whitcomb Jr. at 802-447-7567 Ext 115, or @kwhitcombjr