BARRE — A Northfield man who allegedly failed to pay contractor bills worth thousands of dollars for his sandwich shop in Berlin was arraigned in Washington County criminal court this week.
Shawn Larkin, 41, pleaded not guilty to six felony and one misdemeanor theft of services charges and one count each of criminal threatening, false pretenses and unlawful trespass. If convicted, he faces a total of more than 62 years in prison, $38,500 in fines or both.
Larkin was the former owner of Soup’er Heros sandwich shop at two locations in Berlin — at the Berlin Mall and in the former Simon’s gas station on the Barre-Montpelier Road — between May and October.
In an affidavit, Berlin Police Officer Daniel Withrow listed seven businesses — Michael Ellis Builders, Byrd’s Painting, Chris Cheney, Gouge Electric, Gauthier’s Quality Grounds Maintenance, G.W. Locksmith and Lucky’s Plumbing and Heating — that had allegedly not been paid for contract work.
“As of February 21, 2019, Larkin has accrued approximately $16,907.60 in services and has not paid any of the hired contractors for their services rendered for Soup’er Heroes or him,” the affidavit stated.
Ashley Hill, Washington County deputy state’s attorney, requested the court impose $10,000 cash bail because of previous failures to appear in court, both in Vermont and other states.
“This is a nine-count information,” Hill noted. “Nearly $17,000, at this point, in restitution is due and the state does anticipate filing additional felony charges.”
Hill said the Attorney General’s Office had indicated that there were at least three more contractors who are “potentially out significant amounts of money.” Hill said the prosecution was concerned Larkin might flee, as he allegedly did after failed business dealings in other states, and because of the serious charges against him in Vermont.
“Given the maximum possible exposure here, from the state’s perspective, coupled with the four Vermont failures to appear along with the New Hampshire failures to appear, the $10,000 cash bail is appropriate given the potential exposure, the maximum possible penalty here, and Mr. Larkin’s failure to appear for court proceedings,” she said.
Larkin had a previous conviction for a 2014 simple assault charge and had violations of probation, Hill added.
Defense attorney James LaMonda opposed the $10,000 cash bail, saying Larkin lived locally, had weekend visits with his son and accrued the charges against him because of the failure of his start-up business. Larkin’s failures to appear for court proceedings were nearly 20 years ago and had been resolved, and Larkin had no prior felony convictions, LaMonda added.
Judge Kristin Schoonover said she wanted to impose a $2,500 cash or surety bail.
“I find that there’s some risk of flight,” Schoonover said.
After hearing that Larkin could not meet the bail requirement because of his business failure, the judge decided against imposing bail.
Larkin was released on conditions. Among them, he must also not threaten or harass witnesses or have contact with any of the businesses involved, and must not solicit building or repair services for or on behalf of Soup’er Heros.