Repeat offender captured after Franklin County manhunt

Published: Sep. 7, 2023 at 2:11 PM EDT
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GEORGIA, Vt. (WCAX) - The Burlington armed robbery suspect who eluded police on everything from a sailboat to a tractor was finally caught Thursday in a kayak. Eric Edson’s run stretched for more than a week through multiple counties and using an array of stolen vehicles.

Police say 52-year-old Eric Edson was spotted in a stolen kayak on the Lamoille River in the town of Georgia around 1 p.m. Thursday afternoon. Vermont State Police say Edson ditched the boat and tried to flee along the riverbank before jumping in the river and trying to swim for it before troopers captured him.

“This suspect was an individual that displayed a propensity for violence and it certainly put the community, the public in a sense of unease,” said Vermont State Police Sgt. Michael Filipek.

It all started in Burlington on August 30 when Burlington Police approached Edson passed out in a car. Edson later took off, assaulting two officers. He was later spotted near the North Avenue Co-op where police say he stole a bicycle to get away. Police later located Edson in a stolen sailboat where he escaped into the trees along Rock Point.

“Whether that meant stealing vehicles, boats, tractors, whatever he could to evade law enforcement, he was willing to do,” Filipek said.

The search made its way into Franklin and Lamoille Counties this week after police say Edson was spotted in Cambridge and on Goose Pond Road in Fairfax driving a stolen John Deere tractor. Surveillance footage also showed him approaching the door of a home and then driving a stolen dump truck which he later abandoned.

“I wouldn’t expect an individual who has been in Burlington involved in crime there to have made their way all the way out here and been causing issues,” said Michelle Sawyer, a resident of Goose Pond Road.

Edson is well known to authorities with more than 40 felony convictions on his record and criminal activity dating as far back as 1987.

After his arrest Thursday, he received medical attention on scene and was transported to the hospital for evaluation of injuries he sustained while he was at large.

Back in Burlington, Police Chief Jon Murad said in a statement that with the “unusualness of Mr. Edson’s various modes of flight, from cars to bikes to paddle boards to sailboats to tractors, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that Mr. Edson is a dangerous person... Neighbors can breathe a bit easier because of his apprehension.”

Edson faces a slew of charges including assault and robbery with a weapon, grand larceny, eluding law enforcement – negligent operation. He is expected to be arraigned in Burlington on Friday morning.

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