Homeless man banned from Killington library
By Cristina Kumka
STAFF WRITER | December 08,2012
KILLINGTON — Sherburne Memorial Library has issued a two-year, no-trespass order against a wandering, mentally ill, homeless man who is believed to have called the library home for the last year.
Head librarian Gail Weymouth, who identified the man only as “Greg,” said he is someone she’s been familiar with since October of last year when the man starting coming into the library to use the computer, and the library’s refrigerator, during operating hours.
But on Nov. 30, Weymouth’s familiarity, friendliness and rapport with the homeless man ended.
The man, described by Weymouth as black, in his 20s and from an affluent family but possibly mentally ill, lost control of his bowels inside the library, forcing the evacuation of all staff and patrons.
Weymouth told the town Select Board about the man this week during her 2013 budget presentation.
It was a tale of sympathy and sadness for an innocent intruder who the town’s only police officer said wasn’t a threat to the public and was just looking for a place to sleep.
Second Constable Whit Montgomery said the man had been wandering around Killington for some time, staying mostly in shacks and on private and public property, but no one called to report a nuisance until the Nov. 30 incident at the library.
The incident happened months after numerous town employees from the highway, recreation and library departments got to know the man.
Greg was allowed to eat in the library, heat up popcorn in the microwave — and Weymouth even tried to get him help with mental health providers in Rutland.
Weymouth said the man doesn’t make eye contact and she suspected he lied to mental health providers because he didn’t want help.
Even up until Nov. 30, the man told police his name but didn’t have any identification on him to prove it.
Weymouth said the man began pushing his boundaries with library staff in the last couple weeks and she knew the signs of an escalating problem because she had a mentally ill sibling in her own family.
In a private interview during the Select Board meeting Tuesday, Weymouth said she had a brother with mental illness and after a while, knew the homeless man’s behavior was similar.
She justified allowing the man back into the library numerous times, even after other male patrons couldn’t use the bathroom because of the overpowering, lingering odor of the man. “He has rights to use the library,” Weymouth said. “It’s open access for everyone.”
Weymouth said she never reported the man to police until last week because she had no real evidence he was living there after hours and she never caught him.
She did, however, bring her dog to the library with her for security when she worked the night of Nov. 20.
After Weymouth had left that night, the library alarm went off at around 11:30 p.m.
When she returned from her home in Stockbridge, she said she saw someone moving inside the dark library.
He had a computer monitor on and one window shade down, Weymouth said
She waited in her car in the library parking lot until police arrived.
Police investigators that night confirmed that someone entered and left the library by breaking in through a back door, using a knife.
The intruder was nowhere to be found. But Weymouth said she recognized Greg’s odor inside the library.
After a few days, Greg started coming back during regular library hours again and was allowed to stay during those hours, until the Nov. 30 incident.
Weymouth said Greg can still be seen walking along River Road or Route 4 at all times of day and lives in any shelter he can find.
“I was more concerned about him being victimized,” Weymouth said. “You can’t be homeless in Killington.”
Weymouth has asked for $500 more in her 2013 budget for surveillance cameras.
She also told the Select Board that the alarm system at the library wasn’t always on in every room.
Montgomery said Wednesday that Weymouth did the right thing by calling police and getting a social worker involved.
He said he didn’t believe the man was a threat, he didn’t do anything criminal or that he could cause any type of safety issue. But he said, “You never know.”
Montgomery confirmed that the man has refused help.
“Make sure your doors are locked. Be aware of your surroundings and what’s going on. Be smart and be safe,” Montgomery said.