Three arraigned for picking up cash dropped in Bennington bank robbery


BENNINGTON >> Three people accused of picking up money dropped by an alleged bank robber have been arraigned on criminal charges.

On Monday, Alicia Bowen, 39, and Robert k. Sawyer, 30, both of Bennington, pleaded not guilty in Vermont Superior Court to misdemeanor counts of possession of stolen property. Both were released without bail and under similar conditions requiring them to appear for court hearings, not accrue new charges, and to keep the court notified of their addresses.

Tracy L. Kramer, 33, of Bennington, pleaded not guilty on March 29 to a felony count of possession of stolen property, and a misdemeanor count of giving false information to police. She was held without bail because she was on probation at the time. A hearing was held on April 15, altering the hold without bail order to conditions of release. A change of plea hearing has been scheduled for April 29.

On March 25, a robbery was reported at the Heritage Family Credit Union on Pleasant Street. The alleged robber stuff cash into his pockets and fled east down Pleasant Street on a bicycle, dropping large sums of cash as he went. Bennington Police identified the suspected robber as Royal J. Palin, 35. He later pleaded not guilty to felony larceny from a person and is being held without bail.

According to an affidavit by Bennington Police Officer David Faden, while police were searching for the alleged bank robber, it was pointed out to them that people on Pleasant Street had picked up money dropped by the robber. Police were directed to Bowen, who told them that some children had picked up the money. She denied having anything to do with it.

A number of children were nearby when Bowen was being questioned. They told police that they and Kramer had picked up the money which had been dropped by a person riding by on a bicycle.

Faden wrote that Kramer initially denied having the money, but then turned it over once told police were investigating it being stolen. She told him she had no more, but then turned over more cash when told to speak to a sheriff's department deputy. She said she had seen a male drop the money while he rode by on a bicycle and admitted to having picked it up. She said she did not know what to do with it once she had it.

Police then learned from Kramer that there was money hidden inside an apartment. Police got permission to search it and found it where Kramer said it would be. She later told police that the money was divided between her, Bowen, and Sawyer. She said Bowen was given $50, while Sawyer may have had several hundred dollars.

Bowen was arrested, and admitted to lying. She spoke to Police on March 25. She said Kramer told her about having picked up money from the street and did not know what to do with it. Kramer wanted to turn it in, but did not. Bowen suggested she keep it because she is a single mother, then asked to borrow $50. Kramer then gave her $50. Bowen said she did not know why she lied, or why she did not turn the money over to police when she saw them searching the area. She claimed to have spent the $50 after police left.

Sawyer came to the Bennington Police Department when called and turned over $70.

He said Kramer gave it to him after she saw it dropped by a man on a bicycle. He said Kramer was unsure of what to do with it and theorized it had been dropped by a drug dealer.

Faden wrote that it was estimated that $2,480 was stolen from the credit union. $1,510 was recovered from Kramer. The search of the apartment turned up $365. Counting what Bowen and Sawyer had, $485 remains unaccounted for.

— Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at 802-447-7567 Ext. 115


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