Vergennes Police Log: Police warn shopkeepers to be wary of checks

VERGENNES — Following a Sunday bad check case, Vergennes police are advising business owners and employees to be careful about accepting checks, especially for amounts in excess of purchase prices.
Police Chief George Merkel cautioned businesses to accept checks only from familiar people or accounts, advice he offered after a Main Street business accepted a bad check for food that was never picked up.
That check, written in advance, was for considerably more than the value of the food and was written on a closed account, Merkel said, and was one of a series of similar incidents over the weekend and late last week. An arrest is possible in that case, he said.
In other incidents between March 3 and 9, Vergennes police:
• On March 3 responded to a South Water Street accident in which a school bus struck and damaged a car.
• On March 3 went to the Bixby Library because of bathroom graffiti advertising three phone numbers to obtain illegal drugs; police on Monday had yet to reach anybody at those numbers.
• On March 3 cited Michael Raymond, 23, of Vergennes for domestic assault in front of a minor child. Police allege he grabbed the victim by the neck, causing pain and difficulty breathing.
• On March 3 tried unsuccessfully to find a driver who left Champlain Farms without paying for $18 of gas.
• On March 4 responded to an accident at the intersection of Routes 7 and 22A on behalf of Vermont State Police; city police said a car struck a tractor-trailer truck, and they ticketed its driver.
• On March 4 looked into a complaint of the smell of marijuana at a Main Street apartment building.
• On March 4 contacted the individual who wrote a bad check at a Main Street shop; the person (different from the one involved in the other incident) said the check would be made good.
• On March 4 checked a report of an abandoned car on Main Street and learned it had been moved.
• On March 5 ticketed a car in violation of the city’s winter parking law.
• On March 6 stopped a car for speeding, smelled marijuana smoke, and issued court diversion paperwork to the male juvenile driver for pot possession after confiscating 9.9 grams of the drug; he was also ticketed for speeding.
• On March 6 tried unsuccessfully to find a driver who left Champlain Farms without paying for $22 of gas.
• On March 6 cited Jeffery Brown, 50, of Panton for driving under the influence of alcohol after stopping his car for defective equipment on Panton Road.
• On March 7 took a report from a third party that a woman’s car had been struck while she was driving on Green Street, and discovered that her license had been criminally suspended; police said as of Monday action was pending on this case.
• On March 8 contacted a Ferrisburgh woman on behalf of Middlebury police.
• On March 8 drove a John Graham Shelter resident to a Middlebury motel; police said he had been kicked out of Northlands Job Corps for threatening a security officer, and that shelter personnel also kicked him out when they learned of that incident.
• At a March 8 traffic stop at the intersection of South Maple and School streets cited a juvenile passenger for pot possession, second offense, and ticketed the driver for failing to obey a Stop sign.
• On March 9 cited Travis LaDuke, 34, of Shoreham for DUI after stopping his car on South Maple Street for failing to yield.
• On March 9 checked out a fundraising letter on behalf of a local resident and determined it was not fraudulent.
• On March 9 responded to a complaint of a motorist revving an engine on White Street; the car was turned off before police arrived.

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