By Eric Francis
POMFRET — A North Pomfret man accused of stealing clocks and an antique cannon from his 90-year-old grandmother’s residence in Woodstock allegedly told police that his “out of control” drug use was behind his efforts to obtain cash.
Scott Simpson, 25, pleaded innocent this week to a felony count of grand larceny in connection with the disappearance of a cannon and gun carriage large enough that it required a flatbed tow truck to move it from a residence on Blankey Cottage Road to a motel in White River Junction where Simpson allegedly sold it for $600.
Woodstock Police Officer Jennifer Hutchins said she just happened to have seen the cannon going by on the back of a flatbed tow truck one day in July and, when the weapon was later reported stolen, she was able to contact the tow driver and track it down. Hutchins wrote that when she interviewed the owner of the Pleasant View Motel on Route 4 about where the cannon came from, the owner said he’d bought it and three antique mantel clocks from Scott Simpson in recent weeks.
Hutchins said Simpson’s grandmother vehemently denied ever having given him permission to remove or sell the items. Officer Hutchins also wrote in her affidavit that, following the recovery of he stolen items in July, Simpson had “casually” admitted to her on more than one occasion that he was abusing oxycodone and, as of September, had enrolled himself in a detox program, according to court documents.
The new felony charge follows the filing of a misdemeanor possession of stolen property charge that Simpson pleaded innocent to back in September after another resident of Blankey Cottage Road called police because he was missing a lawn mower and a weed whacker and had spotted them in a neighboring garage on a property where Simpson was staying.
Simpson had just been placed on probation in August after he pled guilty to a felony count of aggravated first degree domestic assault with a deadly weapon in connection with an October 2010 incident in which Simpson’s ex-girlfriend reported that Simpson had taken out a handgun while they were arguing in her car and threatened to kill her, at one point tackling her to the ground before she fled into the woods.
The morning after he was placed on probation in August, Simpson appeared at the Woodstock Police Station and asked to have the Glock handgun involved in the attack, which was being held as evidence, released to an acquaintance of his who had bought it from him for $350, according to an affidavit filed with the court by Woodstock Police Officer Lisa Wilding.
The police were presented with a bill of sale and turned over the gun to the buyer but later discovered there was also another bill of sale that had previously been filed in which another buyer attested that he’d already bought the gun from Simpson for $375. That incident resulted in the Woodstock Police Department filing both a false pretenses charge and violation of probation charge against Simpson. His next scheduled court appearance is January 3rd.
This article first appeared in the December 1st edition of the Vermont Standard.