Vermont State Police Log: Police charge suspects in two Leicester store robberies
ADDISON COUNTY — In separate announcements late last week, Vermont State Police said they had charged suspects in two different robberies from the same convenience store on Route 7 in Leicester.
On Feb. 25 and 26 Vermont State Police arrested and jailed four Rutland residents in connection with the Jan. 9 robbery of Champlain Beverage in Leicester and got an arrest warrant for a fifth Rutland resident wanted in the case.
William Manfredi, 36; Robert P. Johnston, 29; Tanya Brace, 26; and Dawn Doviak, 35, were all lodged at the Marble Valley Regional Correctional Facility for their alleged involvement in an assault and robbery at Champlain Beverage. Shawn Ritchie, 42, was sought on an arrest warrant; he was already wanted on unrelated arrest warrants.
Manfredi and Johnston were charged with assault and robbery; and Ritchie was wanted on the same charges. Brace and Doviak were charged with aiding in the commission of a felony.
State police said that their investigation showed that Brace and Doviak were parked in the getaway car in the church parking lot on the Leicester Whiting Road while Johnston, Manfredi and Ritchie entered the Champlain Beverage at around 8:15 p.m. on Jan. 9. Upon entering the store, Ritchie allegedly displayed a handgun and ordered the clerk to the floor. The three assailants went behind the counter while the clerk was face down in a prone position and took money from the register and several cartons of cigarettes. After departing the store, the three assailants ran south across the field to the getaway car.
While en route to Rutland, the robbers threw the sweatshirts they wore during the robbery out the car window. Police located the sweatshirts shortly after the robbery occurred, and sent them to the Vermont Forensic Laboratory for processing.
The reported motive for the robbery was to obtain money to fund the robbers’ drug habit.
Ritchie has a pending arrest warrant for escape and police believed he was still in the area as of late last week. Anyone with information regarding Ritchie’s whereabouts is asked to call the Vermont State Police or their local police department. Information can also be submitted anonymously online at www.vtips.info or by texting “CRIMES” (274637) to Keyword: VTIPS.
Meanwhile, state police were also investigating a Feb. 16 robbery of the same store. That night an assailant had tripped an alarm at Champlain Beverage, and police discovered that a lone male had forced entry into the store.
Troopers distributed surveillance camera images of the suspect and on Feb. 26 reported that through social media they had identified Wesley B. Harpe, 18, of Leicester as the suspect. Police charged Harpe with burglary and violation of conditions.
In other recent activity, state police:
• On Feb. 17 were called to investigate an incident in which a Starksboro man allegedly led Hinesburg police on a chase. Police report that at 4:35 p.m. that Wednesday, Hinesburg Police Officer Jeremy Hulshof attempted to stop a Mercury Sable driven by 30-year-old Michael Groff of Starksboro for speeding on Hollow Road in Hinesburg. As Officer Hulshof activated the blue lights of his patrol vehicle, police said, Groff failed to stop his vehicle and accelerated away at a high rate of speed.
Hulshof lost sight of the Mercury as he was turning his patrol vehicle around, so he continued in the direction the vehicle had been traveling. Hulshof saw that the Mercury had crashed into a stand of trees and Groff was entrapped inside the vehicle. Fire and rescue crews from Hinesburg, Charlotte and St. Michael’s College were called to assist with extricating Groff from the vehicle. The Starksboro man suffered a broken leg and other minor injuries and was taken to UVM Medical Center. His car was totaled.
Hinesburg Police Chief Koss requested that the Vermont State Police investigate the incident. VSP reports that alcohol does not appear to be a factor in the crash. Anyone who was in the area of Hollow Road and may have witnessed the crash is asked to call the Vermont State Police at 802-878-7111.
• Shortly before midnight on Feb. 17 responded to South Street in New Haven for a citizen dispute. Police said that Kyle K. Mcquarrie, 25, of Proctor drove to the residence intoxicated and began vandalizing vehicles in the driveway. Police cited Mcquarrie for driving under the influence and unlawful mischief and lodged him at the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility.
• On Feb. 18 at about 5 a.m. were dispatched to Hollow Road in Monkton for a report of a single-vehicle crash. Monkton Fire Department and Vergennes Area Rescue Squad responded as well.
The sole occupant of the vehicle, 77-year-old Kenneth Wheeling of Monkton, was transported to UVM Medical Center. Police determined that Wheeling suffered a medical event while driving and he left the travel portion of the roadway and struck a tree. He was reported to have a head injury.
This crash remains under investigation and anyone with information is asked to contact the Vermont State Police New Haven barracks or submit information anonymously online.
• On Feb. 18 at 9 a.m. investigated a two-car crash that had just occurred on Hartland Hill Road in Hartland. Haley Tenzeir, 19, of Orwell was one of the drivers involved in the crash; the other was JoAyn Morway, 29, of Cornish, N.H. Ice-covered roads are considered to be the major contributing factor to the crash, in which no one was injured.
• On Feb. 19 at around 8:30 a.m. stopped 24-year-old Lisa Perry of Middlebury for allegedly driving her 2014 Hyundai 83 mph in a posted 40 mph zone on Bristol Road in Monkton. The trooper found that Perry had her 18-month-old son in the vehicle at the time. She was cited for negligent driving and reckless endangerment.