- Special Sections
By CHRISTOPHER ROY
Express Staff Writer
NEWPORT CITY â€“ A West Charleston man faces up to 25 years in prison or a $1,000 fine or both for allegedly burglarizing a home while the residents were present. On Tuesday, Everardus Proper, 34, pleaded not guilty to the felony charge.
On Aug. 21, Trooper Debra Munson received a report of a home invasion and burglary in Barton. Melissa Dobson told police that she was awakened by a man rummaging through her belongings in her room. Dobson thought it was her brother, Benjamin Hiscock, looking for her laptop, and she went back to sleep.
Dobsonâ€™s brother later told her that he also saw a man in the house.
When Hiscock yelled at the man, the intruder dropped a pair of shorts and a wallet and ran out of the house to a waiting car. Dobson's niece, Mercedes Farley, and Farley's boyfriend, Peter Stacey, reported seeing a man run from the house after they heard Dobson yell.
Hiscock told police that $3 was missing from his wallet and Stacey reported that his sneakers were missing. Dobson said someone rummaged through drawers, cabinets, closets and the cars in the driveway.
In a separate incident, Michelle Gilcris of Barton told police that someone smashed the window on the back door to her home and numerous items, including ones that contained personal information, and computer equipment were missing.
In a third case, Audra Sicard said someone burglarized her home in Westmore. Sicardâ€™s husband told police he saw a green or teal colored Subaru drive slowly from the driveway of his parents' home to the home of his neighbor. The vehicle pulled into the driveway, backed out and went back in again.
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A woman got out of the vehicle and began peering in the windows of the home.Â
Sicard called the neighbors, who were out town, and who said they did not know the woman.
Sicard went to confront the woman, who said she was having car problems and asked him to take her to get gas. Instead, Sicard and his brother took $15 from the woman and went to buy her some gas. When the men returned, the woman put gas in the tank and left. The brothers noticed the woman was on her cell phone for most of the time they were with her. They also noticed she was driving a green or teal Subaru.Â The Sicards gave the police the registration number from the vehicle.
State ecords showed the license plates belonged on a 2000 Dodge Caravan owned by Nicole Merrill. Police wrote that their most recent involvement with Merrill involved a fight with her boyfriend, Proper, in July. Computer records also revealed that Proper was a person of interest involving a burglary. Court records in Vermont show that Proper was arrested for grand larceny and second-degree burglary in New York.
Police went to the residence of Nicole Merrill and Everardus Proper in West Charleston, where they spoke with Merrill. She told police that she had heard about the burglary and she had been a victim but did not report it. She also said she heard rumors police were looking for her because of her past. She denied driving her car since police pulled her over a few weeks earlier. She then said she had been driving when police told her she had been identified as being behind the wheel of her car in the Barton area on Aug. 21. She said that her car needed gas, but she was unable to say where she was when she needed it. Merrill was also unable to explain why she was in Westmore.
Munson said that Merrill acted nervous and said she was just trying to take care of her children. Proper kept walking between the kitchen and living room while this discussion was taking place.
After executing a search warrant, police took Proper into custody and brought him to the state police barracks for questioning. Police recovered numerous items from the home.
Merrill told police she did not take the stolen items, however, over approximately aÂ weeks time, Proper and her brother would go out and come back with different items. Merrill said she as aware the items were stolen but didnâ€™t say anything because she knew Proper is bi-polar and she didnâ€™t know what he would do if she informed the police.
Merrill would not release the name of her brother or any other information regarding the burglaries or stolen items.
Proper was lodged at the Northern State Correctional Facility on $5,000 bail.