Car thief to serve at least three years in jail
By Patrick McArdle
STAFF WRITER | March 16,2013
BENNINGTON — A Manchester man who not only stole two vehicles in one night in June but also went back and removed his things from the first car, which he crashed, after it had been towed to a garage, was sentenced Friday to serve three to 12 years in prison.
Reynald S. Carey, 22, was arraigned June 5 in Bennington criminal court on felony counts of aggravated operation of a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent and grossly negligent operation of a motor vehicle and misdemeanor counts of operating a vehicle without the owner’s consent, leaving the scene of a crash that caused property damage and possession of marijuana.
On Jan. 14, Carey pleaded guilty to the felony charge of taking a car and misdemeanor counts of taking a car and leaving the scene of a crash. The state dismissed the other two charges.
Carey was charged as a habitual offender, a sentencing enhancement that can be used when a defendant has three or more previous felony convictions. Two of Carey’s previous felonies were also for stealing cars.
Police said the incident with Carey began June 4 around 12:30 a.m. when a crash was reported on Depot Street in Bennington. When police arrived at the scene, they found a 2002 Honda Accord, which was later determined to have been stolen from Pittsfield, Mass., that had crashed into two parked cars.
Officers were able to reconstruct the crash and found the car had been on the wrong side of the road and then driven onto the sidewalk before hitting the first parked car, which was sent 55 feet from its original position.
About six hours later, police responded to a report that a 2001 Ford Explorer had been stolen from a Bennington home. The SUV was spotted on River Street and police were able to pull it over.
According to an affidavit, Carey, who was driving the SUV, admitted to stealing both the Accord and the Explorer. He also admitted that after he stole the Explorer, he saw the Honda at a towing garage on Benmont Avenue so he stopped and went into the Honda to retrieve items he had left inside including a baseball cap and sunglasses.
During Friday’s sentencing hearing, Carey declined to make a statement, but Robert Plunkett, a deputy state’s attorney for Bennington County, said the state believed it was appropriate for the sentence to have a high maximum because Carey had “committed crimes for all of his adult life.”
“He has never been able to conform his behavior to a non-criminal lifestyle, but in considering Mr. Carey he has one aspect to his life that is different (from other habitual criminals.) He is only 22 years old so he still deserves an opportunity despite the fact that he’s consistently committed crimes,” he said. Plunkett said he thought the sentence was “severe” but “necessary.”
Frederick Bragdon, who represented Carey, said he thought the sentence was “reasonable.” Bragdon said he hoped Carey would be able to avoid further legal problems because he has “great family support.”
Before sentencing Carey, Judge Cortland Corsones said he was pleased Carey had, in an interview with an officer from the Vermont Department of Corrections, shown self-awareness about his problems with drugs and alcohol.
“There’s certainly hope for you for the future if you take your programming seriously, but there’s also a great deal of protection built in for the community in case you’re not successful in this sentence,” he said.