Three Strikes and You're Out!

NEWPORT, VT - Repeated failure to complete the diversion program for the theft of an $8.99 can of Maxell Duster has led Judge Robert Bent to impose sentence on Brandon Cote of Newport.Newport City Police Officer Travis Bingham was dispatched to the Rite Aid store in Newport on April 29, 2010 following a call from store manager Arla Mason. Mason advised Bingham that she witnessed the theft of a can of Maxell Duster, which is used to dust off keyboards, after she observed a man stuffing the can into his pants. As Cote and his friends exited the store, Mason followed and confronted Cote about the theft. The parties returned to the store and when Bingham arrived, Cote was waiting in the manager's office where he was charged with theft.Cote was offered the option of diversion, which, if successfully completed, would keep his criminal record clean. Cote was sent to diversion in June of the same year, but in July his probation officer reported to the court that Cote had failed to complete the diversion program. In July, an arrest warrant was issued by the court.On May 26, 2011, Cote was located by the police and arrested on an outstanding warrant. Once again he appeared before a judge and was again given the option of entering and completing the diversion program. Like clockwork, a month later, he again failed to complete the diversion program and another warrant was issue for his arrest.Cote's past caught up with him on June 1st of this year when he was arrested again. This time diversion was not an option. Cote pleaded guilty to retail theft and was sentenced to 0-1 days with credit for time served while he was detained.A $41 surcharge and $100 fine to be sent to the Special Investigative Unit are the financial costs of stealing a $8.99 can of air.