December 15, 2018


Woman allegedly returns donated toys for gift cards

Williston police cited Tanya Drown, 30, of Montpelier with returning toys to the Walmart in Williston under false pretenses last week.

Police allege that Drown on Dec. 23 returned toys to the store that she had received by donation from the Toys for Tots program and used gift cards she received in the exchange to make personal purchases.

Walmart employees reported the incident to police after seeing news reports of the same person making an allegedly fraudulent return to another store in Vermont.

Drown is scheduled to appear in Chittenden County Court Feb. 6.

Man ‘crawling’ on Mountain View Road cited for DUI No. 3

Williston Police charged an Essex Junction man with a third offense of driving under the influence last Friday after responding to a report of a car off the road near the intersection of Mountain View Road and Trinity Drive.

According to police, a call from a concerned driver described a vehicle in a ditch and an apparently intoxicated male who was nearly hit by a car while crawling on the road. Officers reported finding Kevin Casey, 61, of Essex Junction walking east on Mountain View Road. They traced his tracks back to the vehicle, where they determined he is the registered owner of the vehicle and he had hit a fire hydrant.

Casey was arrested on suspicion of DUI and leaving the scene of an accident.

Observer courtesy photo
A sculpture at the corner of Huntington and Hinesburg roads in Richmond has been returned to its owners after being stolen on New Year’s Eve.

Richmond sculpture recovered

Richmond Police recovered a sculpture last Wednesday that had been removed on New Year’s Eve from an outdoor site at the corner of Huntington and Hinesburg roads.

The 13-foot metal artwork was found laying on Hinesburg Road in Richmond. Police are asking for help locating a suspect. Anyone with information is asked to call 343-2153.

Abukar Ibrahim

Man pleads not guilty in machete attack

A man who allegedly used a machete to attack a 73-year-old Meals on Wheels volunteer in Shelburne on Friday pleaded not guilty to an attempted first-degree murder charge Monday.

Abukar Ibrahim, 32, of Burlington is being held without bail at the Northwest State Correctional Facility in St. Albans.

He is also charged with two counts of unlawful mischief and violating conditions of release. Judge David Fenster ordered Ibrahim to undergo a sanity and competency evaluation and granted him an interpreter for a language spoken in Somalia.

Shelburne police responded Friday to calls of a man breaking car windows at the Harbor Place motel. Police said they found the Meals on Wheels volunteer with severe leg wounds and Ibrahim barricaded in a room, taunting police. It took officers more than two hours to get Ibrahim to come out, according to authorities.

The volunteer was treated at the University of Vermont Medical Center and released.

Ibrahim started staying at Harbor Place only recently, said Chris Donnelly, a spokesman for the Champlain Housing Trust, which owns and runs the property. The trust bought the motel in 2013 and uses it for emergency housing.

“It’s a place that people are at to either escape a violent situation at home, or are out on the streets,” Donnelly said.

James Scott said he has been living at Harbor Place since December. Scott was leaving the motel office Friday and came across the victim, who had blood running down her leg and tracking on the floor, he said.

“I just happened to be coming out of the office and helped her in. She looked fine but scared, wicked scared,” Scott said.

Scott said the attack made him feel unsafe, and he raised questions about who is allowed to live in the motel.

“I sort of do feel unsafe. They let just about anyone in here without putting a background check on them,” he said.

Donnelly said the trust has turned away people who are on the sex offender registry and people who staff or police believe might be a danger to others. But as a practice, residents aren’t subject to background checks, he said.

“These are people who are receiving a public benefit, and so there really has to be a cause to deny them that public benefit, otherwise it’s discriminatory,” he said. “Where do you draw the line for what pops up on the background check?”

Many people are referred to Harbor Place through state agencies like the Department for Children and Families, Donnelly said. There has been a recent influx due to the cold snap that brought several days of below-zero weather.

“It’s hard to have any 100 percent foolproof system in place,” he said. “This is just an awful, awful thing that happened.”

—Cory Dawson of VTDigger contributed to this report

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