ST. JOHNSBURY – A Williamstown man is accused of several crimes including three burglaries.

Michael C. Francis, 32, pleaded not guilty Monday in Caledonia County criminal court in St. Johnsbury to three felony counts of burglary, three misdemeanor counts of petit larceny and two misdemeanor counts of unlawful mischief. If convicted, Francis faces a maximum sentence of 49½ years in prison. He was ordered held on $10,000 bail at Northeast Correctional Complex in St. Johnsbury.

Trooper David W. Lambert, of the Vermont State Police, said in his affidavit a burglary was reported at Classic Auto Exchange in East Montpelier on May 14. Lambert said that same day police were investigating a burglary at Goodrich Maple Farm in Cabot where two gallons of maple syrup and $125 in cash from a cash register were reported stolen.

Lambert said he arrived at Classic Auto Exchange and spoke with an employee who reported someone had forced their way into the business through the front door. The door appeared to have been pried open using a pry bar, according to court records.

The employee told Lambert the burglar stole $1,000 in cash and an LED strobe light worth $175. Lambert said the damage to the door was estimated at $700.

The employee said the company had surveillance cameras that had caught the vehicle the burglar was driving including its license plate. Lambert said the vehicle matched the description of the one involved in the Cabot burglary.

Lambert said he spoke to the vehicle’s owner who reported she didn’t know anything about the burglaries. She told police Francis had access to her car when the burglaries were committed.

Lambert said police found a gallon of maple syrup from Goodrich Maple Farm at the car owner’s home and an LED strobe light in the trunk of her car.

For the third burglary, Trooper Jerry E. Partin, also of the state police, said in his affidavit a burglary was reported at Delair’s Carpet Barn on Route 2 in East Montpelier May 14. Partin said he spoke to the store’s president who reported someone had smashed a window at the store and stole the cash register containing $50. The damage to the window was estimated at $200, according to court records.

Partin said Delair’s was broken into around the same time as Classic Auto Exchange and the two businesses are close to each other.

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