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Bennington

Suspect wanted for burglaries

BENNINGTON — Monday, Police Chief Steve Campbell said he questioned a man recently who admitted to committing three burglaries in Bennington and, following the questioning, released the suspect.

Police received a call from a resident on Route 202 on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. who said a suspicious man at his neighbor’s house was knocking on the door. Campbell responded and called in police from Antrim, Deering and Hancock to assist with the incident, since Bennington has had several burglaries in the last couple of weeks.

At the residence, Campbell said the man, Adam Belleville, 24, of Manchester, was making excuses for why he was at the house knocking. Campbell brought the man to the police station in handcuffs for questioning, and told the man he was being detained.

While questioning the suspect, Campbell said Belleville admitted to three burglaries in town, one on Nov. 2, one on Nov. 8, both involving jewelry valued over $1,000, and the attempted burglary on Thursday. Campbell said his reasons for letting Belleville go included not having a warrant for his arrest and concerns about the legality of holding him against his will without feeling confident in the charges.

“It was a legal technicality,” Campbell said Monday. “Some people agreed with me, some people didn’t,” he added, referring to various police officers and residents of Bennington.

He said police let people go all the time after questioning, if it’s not an emergency.

“If you don’t see a crime happening, you need a warrant,” Campbell said. “I didn’t want to violate his rights. I didn’t know if there would be a legal technicality down the line.”

Campbell is currently trying to work with Manchester detectives to find Belleville, since his investigation has led him to believe the man fled to the city. During the questioning, Campbell said Belleville told him he had been with a lifelong family friend and her boyfriend in Bennington for the past week. Campbell spoke with this family friend later that day and, when Belleville could not be found at the residence, the family friend directed him to another friend of Belleville’s that he could be staying with in Bennington. After speaking with this friend, Campbell was told Belleville went back to Manchester, where he lives with his girlfriend.

While researching pawn shops in Manchester, Campbell said, one shop said that Belleville and his girlfriend had just come to the shop and sold some jewelry 20 minutes prior to Campbell’s phone call. He plans to go to Manchester this week to collect the jewelry and speak with Manchester detectives about the evolving case.

Belleville is now a wanted person, and there is a warrant for his arrest on the Bennington burglary charges.

“We have all the information, now we just have to go find him,” Campbell said.

He added that Belleville has previously been charged with robbery with a firearm, receiving stolen property, theft and drug possession.

Although he said the stolen jewelry value is over $1,000, Campbell also said some of the jewelry would be considered priceless, since various items were passed down through families for years, and some include diamonds.

According to published reports, Belleville was arrested in October in Manchester and charged with robbery with a buck knife at Home Depot. He is also charged with falsifying evidence for hiding the knife in the getaway vehicle.

I'd like to recognize Chief Campbell for this statement: “If you don’t see a crime happening, you need a warrant,” Campbell said. “I didn’t want to violate his rights. I didn’t know if there would be a legal technicality down the line.” In a day where we see law enforcement officers violating people's rights daily in news stories, and in (what I can only hope are) extreme cases, physically abusing their power, it's comforting to know there are still people in law enforcement who truly understand the way justice system is supposed to work. To be clear, I think it's incredibly unfortunate if this suspect is in fact the perpetrator and had to be released. If this is the case, I hope they apprehend him soon and throw the book at him.

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