BENNINGTON — A noisy break-in this summer on Sweets Lane spurred a concerned resident to call police, stay on the phone and follow the alleged burglar until the authorities arrived, according to an arraignment in county court Monday.
Richard Stell, 32, of Bennington stands accused of breaking into a family member’s home after a witness gave a description that identified him, according to court documents.
The Bennington Police Department was alerted of a potential home intrusion on July 13 at about 1:45 p.m. on Sweets Lane. A man called the police after he heard glass breaking and saw someone, later identified as Stell, enter the home’s screened porch and then leave.
The witness stayed on the phone with a police dispatcher and then followed Stell down Bradford Street. When the police arrived, they located Stell.
Stell told police that he was looking for his family member at their home when he saw the broken glass on the door. He said the glass was broken before he arrived. Once he realized the person was not home, he left to find him.
Soon, the owner of the home contacted the police. Very angry over the break-in, she told police that she believed Stell broke her front door, entered the home and stole six cartons of cigarettes. The woman claimed Stell allegedly broke into her home four times total, and that he stole cartons of cigarettes from her three of those times.
Before Stell started breaking into her home, he allegedly intimidated her into giving him money, she told police.
Stell pleaded not guilty to the charge of burglary into an occupied dwelling at his arraignment at Bennington Superior Court on Monday. He is out on conditions that forbid him from contacting the woman or coming within 300 feet of her home, car or place of employment.