Officials: Walk-ins are breaking law
BARRE — State officials say they disagree with a Vermont State Police station commander over whether a stranger walking into someone’s house commits a crime.
State police Lt. Paul White said Wednesday for a Times Argus article that an incident Dec. 1 in East Montpelier, in which a man walked into a home without knocking, was not criminal. He said the state police would have to show that the man intended to steal from the home for it to be a crime.
However, Washington County State’s Attorney Tom Kelly said Thursday that if he were presented with that situation, he would prosecute for unlawful trespass.
According to state statute, a person cannot enter “a dwelling house, whether or not a person is actually present, knowing that he or she is not licensed or privileged to do so.”
That kind of unlawful trespass is a felony with a maximum sentence of three years in prison.
Montpelier Rep. Warren Kitzmiller, a Democrat, said he had been contacted by constituents Thursday morning concerned about the article. He said one constituent asked whether people had to put “No trespassing” signs around their property to keep people out.
Kitzmiller said he contacted some members of legislative committees handling criminal law and they agreed that such conduct would be unlawful trespass.
White could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday.
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