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Two Accidents, No Injuries in Southern Vermont

STAMFORD, Vt. — A local woman avoided injury when her Chrysler Town and Country crashed into a tree on Saturday morning shortly before 11.

 Karen Wheeler, 57, of Readsboro was southbound on Route 100 in her 2005 van when she experienced a mechanical malfunction with her steering wheel, according to State Trooper Lauren Ronan. The van left the highway near Lincoln Road, collided with a guardrail and then a tree.  

There was extensive damage to the guardrail and vehicle, which is considered totaled. Wheeler was wearing a seat belt and no one was injured in the crash. The conditions were dry and sunny.

A second accident later that day in Pownal involved two motor vehicles but no one was hurt in that collision either.

Tiffany Rounds, 28, of Pownal was southbound on Strohmaier Road when she crashed into the rear end of a parked farm vehicle, said Trooper Ronan. The accident occurred around 2:11 in the afternoon. Conditions were dry and sunny; the road is gravel.

The 2010 Subaru Legacy incurred extensive front-end damage. The unattended 1990 International farm truck had minor damage to rear bumper.

Rounds said she was distracted by her children, who were located in the back seat of the vehicle. All of the occupants were evaluated by Pownal Rescue at the scene; no injuries were sustained in the crash.


Williamstown, Vermont Police Searching for Robbery Suspect

By Stephen Dravis
iBerkshires Staff

Vermont law enforcement were at the Stewarts Shop in Pownal after a robbery there on Saturday night.

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Multiple police agencies from two states Saturday night were investigating back-to-back armed robberies in Williamstown and Pownal, Vt.

At 8:22 p.m., a masked man entered the Spirit Shop at 280 Cole Ave., brandishing a handgun and demanding the clerk open the cash register, Williamstown Police reported in a news release.

After a brief argument, the armed man fled the store without acquiring any merchandise or money.

About two hours later, a similar incident occurred at the Stewarts Shop convenience store in Pownal, Vt., about a quarter mile north of the state line.

In that case, at about the 10:20 p.m., the suspected entered with a black handgun and demanded money from the store employees. Vermont State Police say he "fled the scene on foot with an undisclosed amount of money."

No store personnel were injured in either incident.

Williamstown Police worked with Massachusetts State Police, North Adams Police and K-9 units from North Adams and Dalton in the Cole Avenue incident. At the Stewarts Shop, Vermont State Police and the Bennington County Sheriff were assisted by police from Williamstown and North Adams.

Police described the suspect as a thin white male, 5-foot-11 to 6-foot, in his mid 30s and wearing a dark gray hooded sweatshirt, black gloves, dark cargo pants and a camouflage hat and with a camouflage mask covering the majority of his face.

Police are asking anyone with information about either incident to call Sgt. Scot McGowan of the Williamstown Police Department at 413-458-5733 or the Vermont State Police barracks in Shaftsbury at 802-442-5421.

Updated with information from Vermont State Police.


Killing of Pownal Dog Under Investigation

Staff Reports
iBerkshires Staff
Vermont State Police are investigating the shooting of Cassie, a 2-year-old Corgi/shepherd mix.

POWNAL, Vt. — State police are investigating the killing of a dog in the Burdick Trailer Park.

Troopers were called Wednesday, July 1, at 11 p.m. to the park after a neighbor walking along the railroad tracks discovered the remains of the dog and alerted its owner.

Cassie, a 2-year-old Corgi/shepherd mix, had been reported missing the week before. She sustained what appeared to be a single gunshot wound to the head.

State police say they do have some leads in the shooting. The charge would be aggravated cruelty to an animal.

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Trooper Thomas Stange of the Vermont State Police at 802-442-5421. Information can also be submitted anonymously online at www.vtips.info or text "CRIMES" (274637) to Keyword: VTIPS.


Missing Pownal Woman Found in New York

Rita Sweet

Update: Rita Sweet was found at about 7 p.m. walking out of a wooded area on Route 346, about 200 feet over the state line in New York, by state police.  

Sweet verified her identity with state police and told troopers that she left her home after a money-related argument with family members. She said she had intended to walk to Petersburg, N.Y., to meet unspecified friends and family.  

She further said she purposely lay down in the shade near the Hoosic River and slept during the day and chose to start walking when it cooled off.

Sweet was showing signs of dehydration and had several blisters on her feet but was in otherwise good health. She was brought to Southern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington for medical evaluation and there she was reunited with family members.

POWNAL, Vt. — A 71-year-old local woman has been reported missing since Monday morning.

Rita J. Sweet reportedly walked away from a residence on VT Route 346 near US Route 7 on Monday at about 11 a.m. after a verbal argument with family members.

State police were notified Monday night at 10 p.m. she had not located.

She may have been walking north on VT 346 toward North Pownal. She was last seen wearing blue floral-print shorts, blue tank top and blue sandals.

She has gray hair, blue eyes, stands 5-foot-4, weighs 170 to 180 pounds, wears glasses and has a distinct mole under her left eye.  

Officials continue to have concern for Sweet because of her age, minor medical issues and that she is unprepared for inclement weather or for staying out overnight.

Troopers from Shaftsbury were joined by members with the Bureau of Criminal Investigation; Pownal Fire Department; Rennsselaer (N.Y.) County sheriff deputies; Vermont State Police Search and Rescue Team; and a fixed-wing aircraft from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Office of Air and Marine for both ground and air searches.

After following up on several tips, all indications are that Rita is in New York; with the last possible sighting in Hoosick, N.Y., at approximately 11 a.m. Rensselaer County deputies continue their search efforts and any leads in that area can be referred to their dispatch at 518-270-5252.


Vermont State Police Investigating Dog Abuse

Update at 10:54 p.m., April 29: The Vermont State Police were able to identify the owner of the deceased dog located in Alta Gardens MHP in the Town of Pownal. After an extensive investigation police found the circumstances of the case not criminal. 

No charges will be filed.

POWNAL, Vt. — Vermont State Police are investigating a case of animal cruelty after finding the body of an emaciated dog.

Troopers were at Alta Gardens Mobile Home Park at about 3 p.m. on Monday for an unrelated incident when a park resident approached them about finding the dog.

The resident told the troopers that a dog's body had been dumped behind one of the trailers. It had been placed in a trash bag and appeared to be hidden in a culvert.

Upon further investigation, the dog was found to be extremely emaciated and showed significant signs of neglect. The dog was a 3- to 5-year-old male pitbull, cream in color. He was found wearing a distinguishable collar and missing his right eye.  

State police are pursuing leads and anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Shaftsbury Barracks at 802-442-5421. Information can also be submitted anonymously at www.vtips.info or by texting "CRIMES" (274637) to keyword "VTIPS."

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