Landowners Say $40K in Timber Stolen
STAMFORD, Vt. — A Connecticut couple are accusing a Bennington man of stealing $40,000 worth of lumber from their wooded property - four years after the alleged crime was committed.
Robert Kobelia, 57, has been cited to appear in Vermont District Court in Bennington on Jan. 26 on a charge of grand larceny.
Lynn and Walter Nightingale of Bolton, Conn., filed a complaint with state police late last year, saying they'd discovered in 2008 that the property had been logged four years before, sometime during January or February 2004, without their consent.
They had reportedly contacted the Kobelia, owner of Northeast Wood Products, who told them that he oversaw the operation, but thought they had a verbal agreement. The Nightingales' told state police they did discuss the possibility of having their land logged, but out of all the bids given to them, Kobelia's was the lowest, and they decided not to have their land logged.
They hired a forestry consultant, who estimated the value of the standing lumber, as well as a private attorney. State police received a report from the consultant as well as e-mail and faxed correspondence from Kobelia to the victim's attorney, which was used to establish probable cause that a crime had been committed.
Kobelia, 57, was interviewed Dec. 31 at the Shaftsbury barracks. According to police, Kobelia said he felt as though there was a verbal agreement between he and the victim. He acknowledged that he never paid the victims for the logs removed, and stated that was it was because of a billing error after a computer crash. He told troopers that he is currently unable to pay Nightingales.
The forestry consultant placed the value of the logs taken from the victim's property at $40,601.07. During the interview, Kobelia maintained that he knows he has to pay the victims for what was taken, but disputed the amount quoted, and told state police that all of his assets are now in foreclosure.
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Readsboro Teen Killed in Snowmobile Accident
READSBORO, Vt. — A Readsboro teen died Saturday night after being struck by a snowmobile during a party on private property about a mile off Route 100.
The office of the state's attorney is investigating the circumstances surrounding the accident that lead to the death of 18-year-old Jessica Bolognani. The accident was reported at about 10:30 p.m.
According to state police, Bolognani was riding on the back of a 2009 Polaris snowmobile operated by a Richard Bernard, 20, of Whitingham when she fell and was hit by a second snowmobile that was following, a 2001 Polaris being operated by 21-year-old Clinton Birch of Readsboro.
Bolognani was wearing a helmet but sustained a serious head injury and died of her injuries before she arrived at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington. She was pronounced dead by the regional medical examiner's office.
A group of young adults were at the camp when Bernard, Bolognani and Birch left the camp to go snowmobiling, said police, and alcohol was involved.
Bennington County State's Attorney Erica Marthage ordered an autopsy on Bolognani by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Burlington on Monday.
The investigation into the incident is continuing; anyone with information is asked to call Sgt. Mike Marvin or Trooper Travis Hess at the state police barracks in Shaftsbury at 802-442-5421.
Bolognani was a star athlete who graduated from Twin Valley High School in Wilmington in June. She was majoring in health sciences at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut. Both college and high school classmates recalled a friendly, helpful, generous young woman on a Facebook page dedicated to her. "The whole entire town is in total devastation, she was adored by all," wrote one longtime family friend.
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Break-Ins Reported in Williamstown
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — A Cobbleview Road residence was broken into late Wednesday afternoon as police were investigating an earlier burglary on the same road.
Police were at the first residence at about 5 p.m. when a neighbor reported the motion lights coming on at another Cobbleview Road home. As officers approached the residence, they heard what sounded like a person running from the area into the woods. A search was conducted by second-shift officers, including Officer Michael Ziemba and Blue, and North Adams Police officers but no suspect was found.
The house had been forcibly entered and property stolen. The state police Crimes Services Section was contacted to assist in the investigation.
Williamstown Police are asking residents to be alert to unusual or suspicious vehicles and to contact the police at 413-458-5733 to report any suspicious activity.
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Fatal Accident on MassPike
WEST STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — State police are reporting a fatal accident occurred late this morning at the 1-mile marker on the Massachusetts Turnpike.
Added Jan. 1: The driver was Elizabeth McKee, 53, of Rock Creek, N.Y.
The state police barracks in Weston responded to the one-car crash in the eastbound lane at about 10:42 a.m.
Preliminary investigation by Trooper Edward Ashman indicated the vehicle left the roadway and struck a tree in the median, resulting in fatal injuries to the operator, who was the sole occupant of the vehicle. Responding emergency medical personnel pronounced the victim dead at the scene.
The crash is under investigation with the assistance of the Collision Analysis and Reconstruction and the Crime Scene Services sections. Troopers were additionally assisted at the scene by the West Stockbridge Fire Department.
No further information is available at this time.
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Williamstown Crash Injures Two
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — A two-vehicle crash near Cumberland Farms on Monday, Dec. 28, sent residents to the hospital.
Police said Jonathon P. Murphy, 50, of Harrison Avenue pulled out of a Main Street business without stopping at about 1:38 p.m. His 2002 Chevrolet pickup collided with a 2008 Ford sedan operated by Kimberly D. Scott, 22, of North Hoosac Road.
Scott and a passenger were transported to North Adams Regional Hospital by Village Ambulance Service. Both vehicles sustained significant damage and were removed from the scene by Ron's Auto Repair.
Murphy was issued a citation for negligent operation of a motor vehicle.
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