Police: Man pawned coins from Dorset break-in

BENNINGTON — A Sunderland man has been accused of possessing stolen property in connection with the break-in of a Dorset home last spring.

Valuables, including coins and jewelry, and several thousands of dollars in cash had been reported stolen from a home near Morse Hill Road, police said.

Jeremy T. Joseph, 36, pleaded not guilty in Vermont Superior Court Bennington Criminal Division on Monday to felony possession of stolen property greater than $900. Joseph was released with conditions and will return to court Oct. 16.

Brandi (Grover) Merrow, 40, of Danby, and George Hale, 56, of Manchester previously denied felony charges stemming from the theft.

Troopers responded on March 11, 2016 after a caretaker told troopers that someone entered the house overnight — while the family was at a funeral service — and kicked in a closet door where valuables and money were stored, according to an affidavit by Trooper Paul F. Sokolowski Jr. Originally, envelopes holding a total of $9,000 in cash were the only things reported missing. Two bags of silver coins — 300 coins totaling $9,000 — along with a gold bracelet valued at $8,000, were later reported to have been stolen.

Troopers identified Merrow, a former housekeeper for the family, as a suspect. Investigators learned Merrow may have been in a relationship with Joseph, who they spoke to in May 2016 while he was at an inpatient substance abuse treatment facility in Rutland County.

Joseph allegedly said that Merrow gave him coins she had from an inheritance because she owed him money, according to the affidavit. Joseph and Hale then allegedly went to pawn the coins at the Brattleboro Gold and Silver Pawn Shop on March 18 and 19 for about $5,000.

Hale, 56, of Manchester, pleaded not guilty in Windham criminal court on Feb. 27 to felony possession of stolen property, and misdemeanor false token and providing false information to an officer. Hale will return to that court Oct. 19.

Merrow pleaded not guilty in Bennington criminal court on June 26 to felony possession of stolen property. Merrow will return to that court Sept. 11.

Reach staff writer Edward Damon at 802-447-7567, ext. 111 or @edamon_banner.


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