BARRE – A St. Albans man is accused of not returning trucks he rented from a Berlin dealership.

Everett A. Simpson, 41, pleaded not guilty Thursday in Washington County criminal court in Barre to felony counts of failure to return a rented or leased vehicle and aggravated vehicle operation without the owner’s consent. If convicted, Simpson faces a maximum sentence of eight years in prison. He was released on conditions.

In an affidavit, Berlin Police Officer Daniel W. Withrow said a report came in on Aug. 22 regarding rental vehicles that hadn’t been returned to 802 Toyota. Withrow said he went to the dealership and spoke to an employee who reported Simpson had rented two trucks from the dealership on July 19, which were supposed to be returned on Aug. 18. The employee told Withrow a family member of Simpson’s contacted the dealership on Aug. 20 stating there had been a family emergency and the trucks would be returned that day.

Withrow said the trucks hadn’t been returned by Aug. 22 and were reported as stolen. He said the agreement Simpson signed when he rented the trucks stated failure to return the trucks within 72 hours of the time they were supposed to be returned is a crime in Vermont.

Withrow then spoke with a sheriff’s deputy in Franklin County who told him the department there had been involved in a fraud investigation involving Simpson. The deputy told Withrow the trucks were at Simpson’s residence at the time.

On Aug. 27, the employee contacted Withrow and told him Simpson’s family member had been in contact with the dealership and reported the trucks were in St. Johnsbury and Gorham, New Hampshire.

Withrow said the truck in St. Johnsbury was located abandoned and towed back to the dealership on Sept. 11. The affidavit didn’t say whether the second truck was located or returned.

Withrow said it cost the dealership $261 to get the truck towed back from St. Johnsbury.

eric.blaisdell @timesargus.com

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