NEWPORT, VT - Joshua Sabens, 25, of Blairsville, Penn., plead no contest Tuesday to a charge of felony possession of stolen property, amended down from an original charge of burglary.
The charge stems from the theft of over $10,000 worth of tools from a construction site on Farrar Road in Newport. The site was under the control of Piette Construction.
On July 3, 2009, site supervisor John Bathalon told State Trooper Callie Field that someone had entered the property, broken into a locked trailer, and taken the tools. Trooper Field investigated the scene and found a heavily trod path through tall grass from the site to the side of the road. While examining the road, Trooper Field discovered a cigarette butt on the ground. She had the cigarette tested for DNA and a match came back on Dec. 13, 2009, to Joshua Sabens.
After confirming that Sabens was not an employee of Piette's Construction, Trooper Field contacted Sabens who, without being questioned, apparently stated that he had nothing to do with a burglary "since I was younger."
Trooper Field attempted to interview Sabens but Sabens never showed up. Field then got a court order for a DNA sample to be taken from Sabens. Fields was able to get that sample when Sabens came to the barracks on March 13, 2010. The test results from that sample determined that Sabens' DNA "cannot be excluded as the source of the DNA" found on the cigarette.
On Sept. 3, Sgt. Michael Lacourse was at a residence in Brownington where he observed a number of tools. The resident of that house said the tools belonged to Joshua Sabens, who had left them there for safe keeping.
The tools were identified as those belonging to Piette's Construction.
Trooper Fields requested an arrest warrant for Sabens based on the burglary charge. The warrant was issued on April 5, 2011, with $5,000 bail.
Sabens finally appeared in court on Jan. 1, 2012, to answer to the charge.
He was sentenced to 1 to 3 years, all suspended except for 30 days, and placed under probation until further order of the court. Sabens must serve his 30 days in the Pre-Approved Furlough Community Restitution Program, serving up to eight hours per day on a schedule determined by the Vermont Department of Corrections. If Sabens fails to show up for the program, he will be arrested and will serve out his sentence in jail without another hearing.