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EXCLUSIVE: Huge fentanyl bust, a dangerous vehicle chase, brazen retail theft and more

By Michael Bielawski,

Some of the latest crime reports from local and state police include there was a substantial fentanyl bust in Shaftsbury, and there was a wild police chase that ended in a physical altercation and arrest. Also, cases of retail theft may be getting more bold and out in the open.

Wild police chase ends with rubber bullets

When Burlington Police received a call regarding an active domestic assault at Colchester Ave. and Barrett St., they arrived to find the suspect had fled. Upon locating the suspect’s car at a nearby pizzeria, a chase began with the suspect nearly hitting a police vehicle entering as he fled in his car.

The man in the car was Thomas Burke, age 41. A chase pursued that ended with a crash.

The report states, “Ultimately, Burke crashed his vehicle into several vehicles that were stopped at the traffic light,” the police report states. “Burke exited the vehicle in possession of a hammer refusing verbal commands from the Officers.”

It continues, “Burke then fled on foot behind residential buildings which led to a short foot pursuit.  Burke stopped, turned towards Officers still in possession of the hammer, and took a fighting stance. Burke made threats towards Officers and threats of self-harm.”

Ultimately police resorted to non-lethal bullets to get him to drop the hammer and submit to arrest. The police later learned that this was not Burke’s first police chase, he’s been known for “multiple vehicle pursuits by neighboring law enforcement agencies.”

The lengthy list of new charges he faces includes “Attempted Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon, Grossly Negligent Operation, Disorderly Conduct, Resisting Arrest, Leaving a Scene of an Accident, Eluding Police Officer while operating in a grossly negligent manner, and Impeding a Public Officer.”

500 bags of fentanyl seized

State police had arrested a woman in Shaftsbury and then were able to obtain a search warrant for her home. They may have found a major fentanyl distribution operation.

“On May 31, 2024, the Vermont State Police arrested Kiona Kinney [age 28] in Shaftsbury, the report states. “Shortly after her arrest, state and federal law enforcement from multiple agencies executed a search warrant at Kinney’s residence at 218 Twitchell Hill Rd. in Shaftsbury. During a search of the residence, law enforcement located more than 500 bags of fentanyl, a small amount of cocaine, ammunition, and other evidence of drug use and distribution.”

The report notes that the apartment is already known as a hotspot for drug-related crimes. The residence at 218 Twitchell Hill Rd. was also where a non-fatal drug-related shooting occurred in October 2023.

The report adds that “At the time of her arrest, Kinney had pending charges of cocaine possession and leaving the scene of an accident, along with active pretrial conditions of release prohibiting her from possessing regulated drugs.”

Retail theft in plain sight

A man left the Ocean State Job lot in St. Johnsbury with a shopping cart full of large merchandise according to camera shots released by police. There are photos provided by police in this article showing what the man looks like.

There may be a nationwide increase in this new style of brazen thefts. A Fox Business report from January 2023 details how nationwide organized and brazen theft has been increasing.

“It's pretty brazen,” an Ace Hardware store owner in Colorado told them. “They're coming in with organized crime – cell phones, getaway vehicles, working against our management team. The petty theft that it used to be every day, now it's the big, brazen large-ticket items, just walking out of our doors with hundreds of dollars every single day.”

Fifth suspect arrested for 2022 homicide

A State Police report states, “The fifth and final suspect facing charges in connection with a homicide in December 2022 in St. Johnsbury has been arrested.”

The arrest happened down in New Orleans. The report states, “Danny Daniels, 32, of Philadelphia, was arrested Monday afternoon in New Orleans by members of the Louisiana State Police and other law-enforcement agencies on a host of Louisiana state charges. Daniels, along with a second man, was taken into custody following a vehicle pursuit and foot chase involving the Louisiana State Police, the FBI’s New Orleans Field Office, the New Orleans Police Department, and the Port of New Orleans Harbor Police.”

In 2022 there was an arrest warrant for Daniels charging him with “aiding in the commission of first-degree murder, aiding in the commission of assault and robbery with a weapon, and aiding in the commission of burglary.”

These charges stem from the shooting and death of Israel Jimenez Lugo, 49, during the overnight Dec. 13-14, 2022, at Lugo's St. Johnsbury apartment.

The author is a writer for the Vermont Daily Chronicle


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