Claremont man denies robbing Ascutney gas station
By Susan Smallheer
Staff Writer | June 28,2013
WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — A New Hampshire man was released on conditions Thursday after he pleaded innocent to charges that he robbed an Ascutney gas station at gunpoint in April.
Blaine Kennett, 25, was charged with holding up the Irving gas station in Ascutney on the night of April 9. According to court records, the weapon was believed to be an Airsoft pellet gun, Vermont State Police said.
No one was hurt in the robbery, that is believed to have netted Kennett $93 and a pack of cigarettes, which he dropped outside the store, police said.
According to his attorney, public defender Elizabeth Kruska, Kennett was desperate for cash since he has an opiate addiction, although court records were silent on that issue.
Kruska said during her client’s arraignment Thursday in criminal court in White River Junction that Kennett was currently the assistant manager at the 7 Barrel Brewery in West Lebanon, N.H., where he was arrested Wednesday and had worked as assistant manager at several area restaurants.
Windsor County Deputy State’s Attorney David Cahill had asked Judge Robert Gerety to set bail at $50,000, saying Kennett had no ties to Vermont and he had talked about going to North Carolina.
But Gerety said that Kennett did have extensive connections in the Upper Valley region, including grandparents in Springfield and other relatives in Chester. Kennett lives with his parents in Claremont, N.H.
Kennett was ordered by Gerety not to have any contact with the cashier at the Irving gas station, or with his brother Nathaniel Kennett, who gave Claremont police, detectives for the Vermont State Police and other law enforcement officials a lengthy statement. Police had earlier received an anonymous call identifying Blaine Kennett as the robber.
Nathaniel Kennett said he had confronted his brother about whether he had robbed the gas station, and Blaine Kennett admitted he had, according to court records.
Blaine Kennett told his brother that he knew the manager of the gas station, Leanne Curtis, and statements she had made led him to think there would be cash at the station late at night, police affidavits stated.
Nathaniel Kennett told police this week that his brother was nervous about getting caught because he thought he had dropped one of the gloves he was wearing during the robbery. In fact, Curtis, who was not on duty at the time of the late-night robbery, told police she had recovered a glove that matched the description of one worn during the robbery, as caught on surveillance video.
The robber was dressed all in black and also had on a mask.
Cahill told the judge that police wanted to confiscate the shoes Kennett was wearing in the courtroom Thursday, to see if the footprints matched evidence found at the scene. According to affidavits, a police dog was brought in to track a scent at the gas station, but that the dog lost the scent.
After his arraignment, Kennett was heard thanking his attorney and the deputy state’s attorney.