Are drugs driving crime in Rutland? - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Are drugs driving crime in Rutland?

Rutland, Vermont - January 24, 2012

According to court records, Saturday night at an apartment on Cleveland Ave. in Rutland, three men armed with golf clubs and knives tied up the two female residents and one male guest, violently beat them and then stole their television, gaming console, and prescription pills.

Two of the suspects, who are from New York City, were arraigned in court Monday, but one is still at large.

"I am convinced that in the near future we will be making a third arrest," said Rutland City Police Det. David LaChance, who is leading the investigation.

LaChance says he doesn't believe this was a random robbery and at least one of the suspects knew the victims.

"They had brief encounters with the one person on two occasions in the last couple of months. It wasn't a real tight friendship. But that person did know where they lived and did know some things about those victims," LaChance said.

Though police could not confirm the break-in was drug related, according to court documents both suspects have drug records in the state of New York.

"At this time I don't have any other real evidence that drugs were involved, but obviously this was not a random act. This was not a case of just looking for a place to go in and picking this fine place and entering. Obviously they knew who they were going after," LaChance said.

Crimes related to drugs have been on the rise not only in Rutland, but across the state.

"We have a lot of drugs that are coming from New York, from the New York City area, from the Capital District Area. When you have the drug trade you have other people from those states that are coming up here committing other crimes," LaChance said.

The break-in joins a growing list of crime on Cleveland Avenue. Already this year there have been two shootings.

"It's one of the many problem areas. Obviously we do have problems in Rutland City," LaChance said.

But LaChance said he doesn't think the recent spike in crime should tarnish the reputation of the neighborhood.

Reporter Deanna LeBlanc: There have been things that have happened down there recently, but is it a bad neighborhood?

Det. David LaChance: I don't think so.

Both suspects pleaded not guilty and were held on $200,000 bail.

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