Police say repeat offender behind violent Burlington crime spree
BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - A Burlington man pleaded not guilty Monday to aggravated assault and vandalism charges following incidents over the weekend.
It started on Friday morning. Burlington Police say Patrick Cristaldi, 34, used a knife to slash tires in the area of Maple and South Champlain Streets. While responding, officers received another call of an alarm at the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity.
“The window was completely smashed,” Burlington Police Lieutenant My Nguyen said. “We found [Cristaldi] about three or four blocks away from the scene. We were able to take him into custody without any issues.”
Police say shortly after he was released on bail from the Northwest Correctional Facility on Saturday morning, Cristaldi struck again. This time at the COTS (Committee on Temporary Shelter) daystation located on North Avenue. Police say Cristaldi got into a fight with a woman. Then, after being asked to leave, he picked up a large rock, smashing both front windows and injuring an employee inside.
For both incidents, Cristaldi faces three felony charges, including aggravated assault and unlawful mischief, plus another four counts of misdemeanor unlawful mischief. He’s also on conditions of release for vandalizing Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger’s car and the City Hall Contois Auditorium last month. Cristaldi also has prior convictions dating back to 2005 and 2007, according to police.
In an interview about recidivism, Chittenden County State’s Attorney Sarah George says prison isn’t always the answer. She says re-offenders require rehabilitation.
“The implication there is that we want to just put all of these people in jail forever, instead of just treating them,” George said. “Instead of just figuring out what they need and treating them so that they can be productive members of our community. That for me is the question, not, ‘Why are these people in the street?’ but, ‘What are we doing to help these people?’”
Lt. My Nguyen says officers tried to offer Cristaldi mental health resources. “He made comments to the officer on scene that he wanted to harm people to teach society a lesson. We tried to get him some mental health help, but he refused to speak with the counselor. We can’t force people to if they don’t want to.”
Cristaldi is being held on $5,000 bail. The judge at Monday’s arraignment said that if he posts bail he must be on a 24-hour curfew under the care of a responsible adult.
Copyright 2021 WCAX. All rights reserved.