NEWPORT CITY – David Wells, 49, of Newport, entered pleas of guilty to a variety of misdemeanor charges in Orleans County Court Thursday.
One charge was petit larceny for stealing Valerie Meggison's Teddy bear on Oct. 16, 2011.Meggison called 911 to report that Wells had fled from her residence with the bear. She told Officer Charles Moulton that she and Wells had purchased five “Tall Boy” beer cans at Azur’s Market and returned to her residence where Wells consumed the beer and vodka. Wells took the bear when Meggison refused to give him more alcohol.
Newport City Police Officer Cory Marcoux arrested Wells later for violation of his conditions of release in a pending case. Wells had been ordered to not contact or harass Meggison and to not be charged with another offense.
Wells also pleaded guilty to cruelty to animals. On April 24, 2011, Meggison reported that Chastity Eldridge was yelling and screaming outside the Meggison residence. Eldridge told Moulton that she dropped off two parakeets at Dan Bolio’s residence because he was going to take care of them while she was in Mexico. Eldridge returned to the residence later that day to discover Wells had taken the parakeets and run off with them.
Bolio confirmed that Wells had been at Bolio’s residence when, all of the sudden, Wells ran out with the two birds in their cage.
Wells admitted to police that he took the parakeets and had left them near Jimmy Kwik. A search of the area did not turn up the birds. Wells told police the parakeets would not be found and he knew they would die if they weren’t already dead. Moulton asked Wells again where the parakeets were, to which Wells replied, “They’re just f-----g birds, man.”
At the time the temperature was 40 degrees outside, not including a moderate wind chill, and the tropical birds were not likely to survive at that temperature.
Wells also pleaded guilty to petit larceny for stealing a welder and cutting torch from a truck parked at South Bay Auto on Oct. 26, 2010. A witness across the street reportedly saw two men take the items. The witness, Dale Crews, said his roommate told him that Wells and Jeremy Brown were stealing things from the truck across the street. Crews looked out the window and saw Wells and Brown carrying the welder and cutting torch across the parking lot towards Jimmy Kwik.
Police went to a Third Street apartment where he spoke with Wells. Officer Gary Fournier told Wells that two people saw him take the property and he wanted it back. Wells initially denied taking the items, but admitted to it after Fournier told him again that two people saw him. Fournier told Wells he just wanted to get the property back.
Wells said he didn’t have it. Fournier asked if Brown had it, to which Wells said he didn’t know. Fournier asked if they sold the property, to which Wells said they had, but would not say who bought it.
Wells then told police that Brown had nothing to do with the thefts and he would take the blame. Officer Fournier again told Wells witnesses saw two people and Wells did not respond. Fournier told Wells to get the items back and to call him the next evening.
The next evening, Fournier located Wells on Summer Street and asked Wells if he was able to get the items back to which Wells said he had not. Fournier again asked Wells where the items were and Wells said they might be behind South Bay Auto. Fournier went to South Bay Auto but could not locate them.
Officer Fournier told Brown that two people saw him and Wells take the items. Brown denied any involvement and said it was Dale Crews who stole the items and lied about Brown because Crews doesn’t like Brown. Fournier told Brown that Wells already admitted that he and Brown had taken the items and Brown said he couldn’t get another charge. Fournier told Brown he was only interested in getting the items back.
Brown asked Fournier if there would be charges if the items were returned and Fournier said he couldn’t promise anything, but would see how the investigation went. Fournier told Brown it would only be a citation and Fournier did not intend to lodge him. Fournier told Brown it would look better in court if he returned the items. Brown said okay, but didn’t call Fournier and did not answer the door during two follow-up visits.
On Nov. 2, 2010, Fournier asked Wells if he had any luck in getting the items back. Wells said he had nothing to do with the thefts.
Wells also pleaded guilty to petit larceny for stealing hub cabs from the car of a customer at Ray's Auto. That incident, which occurred June 3, 2011, was caught on a surveillance video.
Wells also pleaded guilty to charges of violating conditions of release for being in contact and harrassing Meggison after he was ordered by the court not to do so, for being on her property, and for being charged with another offense.
During sentencing, Judge Robert Gerety, Jr., stated that Wells needed to be punished because his crimes hurt people and because as a deterrent to prevent Wells and others from doing the same thing. The judge said the community needs to be protected and doesn't need crimes like these happening. Finally, the judge noted that Wells' crimes happened when Wells was drunk.
On the violations of conditions of release, four counts, Wells was ordered to serve 0-6 months, all concurrent. On the cruelty to animals, he received 0-60 days, concurrent.
For the two petty larcenies, he was sentenced 4 months to 1 year on one, concurrent with the other charges but consecutive to another case, and 0-1 year on the other, concurrent. He also received 0-3 months concurrent for the unlawful trespass.