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Vergennes Police Log: Two charged in city gas station burglary, heroin possession case

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VERGENNES — Vergennes police filed felony burglary and grand larceny charges after the Feb. 1 theft of more than $2,400 from the GoGo Gas Station, and also added a heroin possession charge for one of the two people allegedly involved in the burglary.

Police cited Jonathan C. Opra, 21, of Vergennes for burglary and possession of heroin. He was lodged at the Chittenden County Correctional Center following his arrest, in part, police said, because they believed he was under the effect of heroin when he was arrested and found to have seven small bags of heroin in his possession.

Police cited Layna Coursey, 20, of Monkton for grand larceny. Police said Coursey, who was cited and released, worked for the Main Street gas station. They allege that she told Opra how to gain entry and to find a key to a safe on the premises, and allege that Coursey committed the burglary sometime after the business closed on Jan. 31 and opened on Feb. 1.

Police Chief George Merkel said when police examined the scene they determined the door had not been forced open, and began investigating current and former employees. That effort led them to Coursey’s home, where they allege they found her with cash and that she admitted her role. Police then found Opra at the home of a family member in Vergennes, and also found him with cash, as well as heroin.

In all, police said they recovered $2,410 from the two suspects, although the business had not as of Monday informed police if it had finished reviewing its receipts to determine the exact amount of cash that had been taken.

Merkel also discussed further an ongoing heroin investigation that he referenced at the Jan. 31 city council meeting. The department made two arrests in December that he revealed publicly for the first time at that meeting.

The arrests were part of the larger ongoing investigation, and the Independent was aware of them, but agreed they should not have been reported at the time due to some sensitive details. Merkel said he expects the investigation to wrap up this month and to make a full report at that time.

In other action between Jan. 30 and Feb. 5, Vergennes police:

•  On Jan. 30 warned a male caller to stop making harassing calls to a female Northlands Job Corps student.

•  On Jan. 30 helped the Vergennes Area Rescue Squad at a School Street call.

•  On Jan. 31 asked the owners of cars parked on a Booth Woods roadway to move them, an action police took on behalf of the city public works department.

•  On Jan. 31 spoke to the Addison County Community Trust, which manages the Eaglewood Apartments on Hillside Drive, about alleged narcotics problems in the apartment complex.

•  On Jan. 31 dealt with a fender-bender in the Goodrich Aerospace parking lot.

•  On Jan. 31 helped a Vergennes Union High School student get into her locked car.

•  On Jan. 31 checked the welfare of a child at a Thomas Circle home and found no problem.

•  On Feb. 1 accepted a red-and-black children’s bike that had been turned in to the Boys & Girls Club.

•  On Feb. 2 received two tips about illegal drug use in the Vergennes area.

•  On Feb. 2 took the department’s drug-sniffing canine to check out a suspicious package at the Middlebury post office. The dog alerted on the package, Middlebury police received court permission to open the package, and they found that it contained almost a kilogram of marijuana.

•  On Feb. 2 helped the owner of a disabled car on Monkton Road.

•  On Feb. 2 took a report of a fender-bender in the Shaw’s Supermarket parking lot.

•  On Feb. 3 accepted from a resident unused pain medication for destruction.

•  On Feb. 3 helped Vermont State Police at the scene of a minor two-car accident at the intersection of Monkton Road and Route 7.

•  On Feb. 3 did a background check of a former city resident for an out-of-state police department.

•  On Feb. 3 heard from family members on White Street about a possible violation of a child custody order and advised them to contact the court.

•  On Feb. 3 cited Gregory Gillett, 35, of Brandon for driving under the influence of alcohol.

•  On Feb. 4 ticketed three cars for violating the city’s winter overnight parking ban.

•  On Feb. 4 helped VARS lift a patient at the intersection of Monkton Road and Main Street.

•  On Feb. 4 began investigating a woman’s claim that her ex-boyfriend had placed furniture belonging to her on the curb with “free” signs on the pieces, resulting in the items being taken.

•  On Feb. 4 called a dog owner to pick up an animal running loose on Walker Avenue.

•  On Feb. 4 cited a 17-year-old Shoreham resident for driving an unregistered, uninsured vehicle with unassigned plates.

•  On Feb. 5 calmed a family dispute on White Street. 

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