By Eric Francis
WOODSTOCK – Two new burglary charges have been lodged against a Quechee man who was already part of a rapidly widening investigation into the rash of jewelry thefts that swept the area early last month.
Charles “Chuck” Bowen, 24, pleaded innocent on Tuesday to the pair of felony counts in Windsor Criminal Court in downtown White River Junction. Afterward he was returned to the Springfield Jail, where he’s been held since his most recent arrest on November 7 in Lebanon.
Lebanon Police picked up on Bowen after they spotted him that evening in a white Chevy Blazer with Lura Pratson, 21, of Lebanon who police said had a large amount of cash and heroin in her purse at the time. Police searched the Blazer and found a jewelry box that they used to implicate Bowen in a burglary that had taken place earlier that week on High Pastures Road near where the Pomfret, Woodstock, and Hartford town lines meet.
As reported last month in the Standard, police believe Bowen and Ryan Buckley, 23, of Woodstock entered that residence on High Pastures and stole jewelry, apparently not realizing that the homeowner and her daughter were asleep in their bedrooms as they were being pilfered.
This week’s new charges against Bowen allege that on the morning of November 7, before his arrest in Lebanon that evening, Bowen kicked in the door of two separate homes just off Rose Hill in Woodstock – one on Willow Brook Road and on French Road – and took jewelry boxes from the Russell and Brian residences.
Woodstock Police Sgt. Peter Mantello wrote in an affidavit filed with the court that several days after Bowen and Pratson were stopped in Lebanon, the victims of the Woodstock break-ins were able to identify numerous pieces of jewelry found in the Blazer as theirs.
Mantello and Vermont State Police Sgt. Barbara Zonay traveled down to the Springfield Jail to interview Bowen whom they said admitted to have stolen the jewelry from a pair of houses near Rose Hill. Bowen added, “He was going to sell it to Lura Pratson for heroin,” Mantello wrote.
On the bottom of a sworn statement given to police at the jail in which he said he was the sole person responsible for the Rose Hill burglaries, Bowen added a personal note, which began, “I, Charles Bowen, have been clean from heroin since I’ve been here, even though it’s here. I can’t tell you how sorry I am for what I did but I cannot take it back.”
This article first appeared in the December 15th edition of the Vermont Standard.