Vermont State Police Log: Hiker for charity robbed at Long Trail Shelter

ADDISON COUNTY — Vermont State Police are investigating a theft of money from a hiker who was spending a night in a shelter on the Long Trail in Lincoln.
The victim, a 26-year-old Cartersville, Ga., man, had set up his campsite to rest for the evening at the Battell Shelter on the Long Trail on Monday, June 9. He told police that he left the  campsite for a few moments around 6 p.m. and upon his return observed two men rummaging through his pack.
The hiker confronted the two men, who were described as white and in their late 20s or early 30s, and they stopped going through his pack. Words were exchanged among the three men and the two males told the victim that “he had better watch out because he is all alone out here.”
As a result, the Georgia man felt uneasy, gathered his things and left the campsite.
The victim is a full-time firefighter in Georgia and is conducting a series of hiking expeditions to raise money for a charity supporting families of fallen firefighters.
Anyone who has information regarding this incident is asked to contact state police at 802-388-4919. Information can also be submitted online at www.vtips.info or by texting “CRIMES” (274637) to keyword: VTIPS.
In other recent activity, state police:
•  On June 4 at approximately 9 a.m. responded to a three-vehicle crash involving a Middlebury man on Route 30 in Dorset. Police report that Rodger Hill, 55, of Middlebury was driving 2012 Subaru Outback behind a Chevy pickup when a vehicle in front of the pickup stopped to make a left turn. The pickup also stopped and Hill got his Subaru stopped, but a 2013 Nissan Juke driven by Christina Cole, 25, of Granville, N.Y., failed to stop and rammed into Hill’s Subaru, which then struck the back end of the pickup. The trooper blamed Cole’s inattention and said she was following too closely, and he ticketed her. All three drivers were wearing their seatbelts, and no injuries were reported.
•  Fire investigators from the Vermont State Police, as well as from the Division of Fire Safety, were called to investigate the origin and cause of a fire at the Vermont Soap Company factory in Middlebury on June 4. The Middlebury Fire Department was called to the Exchange Street business at 9:10 p.m. that Wednesday evening. Upon their arrival, they found the commercial building to be partially ablaze. The building was unoccupied at the time of the fire and the resulting damage was considered minimal due to the rapid response of the fire department.
The investigators — Det. Sgt. D. Sutton and Det. Sgt. M. Lamothe of the state police and investigator Inv. J. Benard of the Vermont Division of Fire Safety — ruled that the cause of the fire was undetermined, but not considered suspicious. Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to contact Det. Sgt. Sutton at (802) 773-9101 or the Vermont Arson Tip Award Program (VATAP) at 1-800-32-ARSON.
•  On June 6 at 12:31 p.m. responded to a traffic crash with damages in Hancock. No additional details were available at press time.
•  On June 6 at approximately 1:13 p.m. responded to 490 Main St. in New Haven for a reported traffic accident involving a Peterbilt tractor-trailer and a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. The trooper said his preliminary investigation suggested that the tractor-trailer, operated by 42-year-old Larry Baker of Buskirk, N.Y., pulled out of the parking lot at the Agency of Transportation Garage in front of the motorcycle operated by Emile Manka, 49, of Danbury, Conn.  Manka avoided colliding with the tractor-trailer by driving off the roadway and into the grass shoulder and mud-filled culvert. A passenger on the motorcycle, 44-year-old Lisa Manka, sustained a shoulder injury.
The Bristol Rescue Squad, New Haven Volunteer Fire Department and the Addison County Sheriff’s Department assisted at the scene. This crash remains under investigation.
•  On June 8 at 1:06 a.m. responded to a report of a motor vehicle off the road on Plank Road in New Haven. The trooper cited the driver, identified as 35-year-old Melissa Preston of Starksboro, for careless and negligent driving.
•  On June 8 at 10 a.m. cited Jeffrey LaRock, 52, of Brandon for driving with a criminally suspended license in the area of Route 7 and Post Road in Rutland Town. The trooper said he was alerted to LaRock’s license status by the automatic license plate reader he was using.
•  On June 8 at 11:12 a.m. responded to a report of a car crashing into a deer on Route 7 at Route 53 in Salisbury. The driver, identified as 74-year-old Patti R. Reynolds of Brandon, tried to brake but struck the animal. Reynolds sustained bumps and bruising due to the collision and airbag deployment. State police were assisted at the scene by Middlebury Regional EMS and the Salisbury Fire Department. No tickets or warnings were issued.
•  On June 8 at 5:40 p.m. responded to a two-vehicle crash on Route 2A at Chestnut Street in St. George. Police cited one of the drivers — identified as Patrick L. Cota, 21, of New Haven — with driving under the influence of alcohol. The other driver was transported to Fletcher Allen Health Care to be treated for minor injuries. The crash investigation is still ongoing.

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