ENOSBURGH — A series of search warrants have led to the recovery of well over $100,000 in stolen ATVs, motorcycles, tools and other items, including a Hot Wheels collection valued at $40,000.
The investigation centered on three local men: Christopher Rooney, 29, of Enosburgh, Scott Maple, 34, of Bakersfield, and Ean Fisher-Morrison.
Fisher-Morrison, 27, of Enosburgh, was arraigned Monday on two counts of possession of stolen property and one charge of operation a motor vehicle without owner consent. He pleaded not guilty and was lodged at the Northwest State Correctional Facility in lieu of $50,000 bail. Dozens of stolen items found at multiple locations include the Hot Wheels collection, taken from the residence of a man who had died.
According to court documents, New York State Police were expected to file a warrant seeking Morrison’s extradition for one of two burglaries in Plattsburgh, N.Y.
The Plattsburgh thefts, both from Lake City Choppers, involve the theft of seven ATVs, three on Oct. 25, 2015 and four on Nov. 13, 2015. In both instances a box truck was stolen and then used to steal the vehicles, said police. The truck used in the October burglary was taken from Pray’s Farmer’s Market in Plattsburgh. It was later found abandoned in a sandpit in Berkshire, referred to by police as Leach’s. The total value of the stolen trucks and ATVs was more than $80,000.
Vermont State Trooper Michael Filipek’s affidavit describes an investigation that involved multiple interviews and search warrants.
It was the theft of the Hot Wheels cars that put police onto Morrison’s trail. Filipek was sent to investigate the theft from the home of the late Shawn Hennessey on Hennessey Road on Feb. 19. Hennessey had died shortly before the burglary.
A few days after the burglary, a resident of Hennessey Road, Arin Combs, reported seeing suspicious behavior at the home of another Hennessey Road resident, Scott Maple.
Combs reported seeing Maple, Morrison and Christopher Rooney “maneuvering dirt bikes, ATVs, and motorcycles to and from Maple’s house on a regular basis and sometimes in the early morning hours,” Filipek’s affidavit states.
Combs also told police Morrison had made statements about his intention to burglarize Hennessey’s residence.
On March 2, Vermont State Police (VSP) with assistance from the Vermont Fish & Wildlife, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Dept., and the St. Albans Police Dept. executed a search warrant at Maple’s residence.
According to Filipek, as soon as police arrived, Maple told them all of the property belonged to “Ean” while pointing into the woods.
During the course of the search police found two motorcycles previously reported stolen – a Honda motorcycle stolen from Eden, Vt., in December valued at $6,500 and a Kawasaki motorcycle stolen from Michael Farrell of Fairfax valued at $8,200.
Police also found three Hot Wheels cars matching the description of the toys stolen from the Hennessey residence.
Maple declined a lawyer and agreed to speak with police, said Filipek. He stated Morrison had lived with him from spring 2015 until last month. “Ean began moving his ‘so-called’ stuff onto the property at the beginning of this fall,” Maple is reported telling police.
When confronted about the items, which included chainsaws, ATVs, motorcycles and trailers, Morrison would “begin back-peddling and get agitated,” Maple told police.
Ultimately, it was an argument over Morrison’s alleged theft of property from the late Hennessey’s home that caused Morrison to move out, Maple reportedly told Filipek.
As part of this interview with police, Maple said, “The Matchbox cars, Dodge Ram truck – its contents, motorcycle, dirt bikes, ATVs, ATV tracks, several chainsaws, some trailers, and miscellaneous items would show up at unknown times, sometimes at night. He (Morrison) claimed it was legit.”
Maple was cited for possession of stolen property, ordered to appear in court on April 25 and released.
Two days later Maple allegedly contacted Filipek to say he wanted to assist in getting stolen merchandise back to the owners. Subsequently, Paul St. Francis visited Maple’s residence and identified items on the property that had been stolen from him.
Police then executed a second search warrant at Maple’s residence, recovering multiple items from four Vermont burglaries carried out in 2015.
As part of the ongoing investigation, police were able to locate a storage unit rented by Rooney at Enosburg Nutshell Storage.
After securing a warrant, police searched the storage unit on March 16, locating six of the ATVs stolen from Lake City Choppers.
They also found an ATV identified as having been stolen from St. Francis, the Hot Wheels collection and other items reportedly taken from the Hennessey residence, and more items taken from Farrell.
Additional items found at the storage unit, include more ATVs, a disassembled Kawasaki Ninja motorcycle, power tools, a lawn mower, seven chainsaws, and a Honda Generator valued at $1,200.
Police searched Rooney’s home in Enosburg on March 18, finding a receipt and keys for a storage unit in St. Albans, and a Dewalt drill and sockets identified as having been taken in a Bakersfield burglary, said Filipek.
Rooney was arrested and confessed to an October burglary in Bakersfield. He also admitted taking the box truck from Pray’s Farmer’s Market in Enosburgh and using it to steal three ATVs from Lake City Choppers, said Filipek.
According to Filipek, Rooney later described how he and Morrison committed the second burglary at Lake City Choppers. His account matched the video from the scene.
Rooney told police he did not know how the Hot Wheels cars had gotten into the storage unit, and that Morrison and Maple also had access to the unit.
On March 20, Morrison was arrested at his Enosburgh home. He declined to speak with police.