WILLIAMSTOWN — On March 26, troopers from the Middlesex barracks were advised of a gold-colored Toyota sedan traveling southbound in the area of Barre’s Exit 6 at a high rate of speed and passing on the shoulder. Troopers responded to the area but were unable to find the vehicle.
Troopers were later advised that there appeared to be an abandoned vehicle at the Williamstown Agency of Transportation garage that matched the description of the Toyota. Troopers responded to the area and located the vehicle. The subsequent investigation revealed a large amount of stolen property inside the vehicle.
Troopers located the occupants of the vehicle walking on Route 64 in the area of Palmer road. One of the alleged occupants was Johnnie Hammond, 41, of Providence, Rhode Island. All occupants provided false names and were subsequently transported to the Middlesex barracks.
The investigation revealed a large scale return fraud and retail theft from Walmart stores throughout the Northeast. The investigation revealed that return frauds and thefts had occurred in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
The investigation revealed that Hammond instructed others what to steal, which included bed sheets, pillow cases, bicycle parts and school supplies. Over $4,000.00 worth of items were located inside the vehicle. Hammond would then return the items for store credit at other locations.
Police charged Hammond with false pretenses or tokens, accessory to retail theft, false info to law enforcement, criminal threatening, accessory aiding the commission of a felony and accessory after the fact.
Hammond was processed at the Middlesex Barracks and lodged at Chittenden County Correctional Facility. The investigation is ongoing.