BRISTOL — Police made a slew of arrests in connection with two thefts in Bristol over the weekend, including a brazen armed robbery of a Route 116 South convenience store.
In total, police took into custody five people: one on suspicion of committing the armed robbery, the same man and one other on suspicion of breaking into a home, and three others helping plan and carry out the armed robbery.
According to Vermont State Police, Bristol resident Joshua Martell walked into the Big Wheel Variety Store at 4:45 p.m. on Sunday with a “large knife” and demanded money from the owner. After the owner chased Martell, 28, out of the store, Martell fled into the woods.
Police officers from Bristol, Vergennes and the state police barracks in New Haven cordoned off the area. Using canine units, authorities found Martell three-quarters of a mile into the woods and arrested him. According to police, Martell said he needed the money from the theft for heroin. Police said they also found stolen property from a previous burglary in Martell’s pocket.
According to police, the armed robbery wasn’t the only time Martell ran afoul of the law last weekend — troopers said he also burglarized a residence on Lower Notch Road on Saturday, March 29.
Vermont State Police allege Martell and Starksboro resident Kyle Little, 26, entered the unlocked home and stole jewelry and an Apple iPod. Police said the pair took the jewelry, which police estimated to be worth $2,800, and pawned it for cash at the Blue Mall in South Burlington.
In addition, police said Martell is responsible for a theft of a home on Gap Road in Lincoln.
After further investigation, Bristol police on Monday arrested Bristol residents Nathan Pecor, 26, and his wife Chastity Pecor, 29, as well as Lincoln resident Kimberly Jimmo, 18, on suspicion of aiding in the commission of a felony.
This was not the first contact police have had with Martell, Jimmo and Chastity Pecor in recent months.
Bristol police arrested Martell Jan. 10 on suspicion of retail theft from Rite Aid. In that incident, authorities said Martell turned over to police a watch battery that had been taken from the store. Martell also pleaded guilty to attempting to elude police in 2002 and to the sale of narcotics in 2010, according to court records.
Jimmo was previously arrested on suspicion of selling heroin in November, and cited for driving under the influence in that same month. Chastity Pecor was arrested in Feb. 23, after police said she stole a wallet from a vehicle parked outside a Bristol church and took $72 from it.
Bristol police said the trio was “involved in the planning, participation and operation related to the armed robbery,” adding that the investigation produced information related to other property crimes in the northern part of the county.
Bristol Police Chief Kevin Gibbs said Martell told police that the Pecors waited for him in a getaway car near the scene of the armed robbery. That plan was foiled when police quickly arrived, forcing Martell to flee into the woods.
Gibbs added that property crimes such as this are often motivated by expensive drug addictions.
“Most of the burglaries we’re dealing with are related to drugs,” Gibbs said. “They’re stealing whatever they can for cash or trade for heroin or other drugs.
Martell pleaded not guilty to the armed robbery charge in Addison County Superior Court Monday, and is being held at Marble Valley Correctional Facility in lieu of $10,000 bail. Jimmo and the Pecors pleaded not guilty Tuesday and are being held in lieu of bail.