Archive

Local man facing multiple charges

Aug. 11, 2011

By Adam White

Observer staff

Courtesy photo. Dana Cota.

It took two area police departments and a special investigative unit working together nearly a month to identify a Williston man as the suspect in a pair of crimes that occurred within hours of each other on July 8.

Dana Cota of Williston was arrested on Aug. 2 in connection with an armed robbery in South Burlington and an attempted sexual assault in Burlington, both of which occurred on July 8. Burlington Deputy Chief of Police Andi Higbee said that his department worked closely with the South Burlington PD and Chittenden Unit for Special Investigation to identify  26-year-old Cota, who was arraigned in Chittenden County Superior Court on charges of Burglary, Assault & Robbery and Attempted Aggravated Sexual Assault.

“It was a consolidated effort between the departments, compiling and sharing the information and data that we had,” Higbee said. “South Burlington was the department that was initially involved, but their crime and our crime occurred within a short period of time, and that resulted in a conglomeration of our efforts.”

According to a release from the Burlington Police Department, a Maplefields convenience store located at 1801 Williston Rd. was robbed at knifepoint at approximately 2:14 a.m. on July 8. An estimated $225 in cash was taken in the robbery, and no injuries were reported.

Approximately two hours later, a Burlington woman reported that a male suspect broke into her home and attempted to sexually assault her while threatening her with a knife. The woman was reportedly able to fend off the attacker, who then fled. The victim sustained an abrasion to her arm, but did not require medical attention.

An investigation headed by Burlington detective Cpl. Paul Petralia later determined that the suspect and victim in the second incident had a prior acquaintance.

The classification of the second incident as a sex crime warranted the involvement of the Chittenden Unit for Special Investigation, according to Higbee, who added that Cota was initially held without bail. Cota’s bail review has been scheduled for Aug. 17 at 3 p.m.

proximately 2:14 a.m. on July 8. An estimated $225 in cash was taken in the robbery, and no injuries were reported.

Approximately two hours later, a Burlington woman reported that a male suspect broke into her home and attempted to sexually assault her while threatening her with a knife. The woman was reportedly able to fend off the attacker, who then fled. The victim sustained an abrasion to her arm, but did not require medical attention.

An investigation headed by Burlington detective Cpl. Paul Petralia later determined that the suspect and victim in the second incident had a prior acquaintance.

The classification of the second incident as a sex crime warranted the involvement of the Chittenden Unit for Special Investigations, according to Higbee, who added that Cota was initially held without bail. Cota’s bail review has been scheduled for Aug. 17 at 3 p.m.