Home News and Features Police Still Seeking Co-op Sign Smasher

Police Still Seeking Co-op Sign Smasher

Police are seeking the identity of this man, who smashed a sign at the Hunger Mountain Coop as part of an anti-mask rant. Please contact Sergeant Chris Truhan at (802) 223-3445 with any information. Surveillance photo.
The individual who allegedly smashed a large sign in front of Hunger Mountain Co-op with a pick-up truck on Dec. 16 is still at large. Police have not received any information on the person’s identity, nor could they get details on the truck from the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles as of a week after the incident.

Investigating law enforcement officer Sgt. Chris Truhan told The Bridge nobody has contacted the department with identifying information.

It all happened around lunch hour — one of the Co-op’s busiest times of day. A person came into the Co-op and walked around without wearing a mask, according to General Manager Kari Bradley by phone Dec. 19. But when the person reached the cashier station, an employee asked him to put on a mask. At that point, the individual started cursing and gesturing with a middle finger before storming off. But it didn’t end there. 

According to surveillance video posted on the Montpelier Police Department Facebook page, about three seconds after a customer walks out of the store — close to the sign — a pickup truck pulls out of a parking spot and swerves into the sign, flinging it toward the entryway. The person in the photo on the Montpelier Police Department’s Facebook page appears to be male.


The Montpelier Police Facebook pages showed a video of a driver striking a sign about required masking inside Hunger Mountain Coop.
Sergeant Truhan said the individual could be charged with committing three crimes once identified. Charges could include disorderly conduct, unlawful mischief, and careless and negligent operation of a motor vehicle. Maximum punishment for a disorderly conduct conviction includes 60 days in jail, a fine of $500.00 or both, according to Vermont state statutes. A conviction of unlawful mischief of this magnitude (damage to property of any value under $250.00) carries a maximum penalty of a $500.00 fine or six months in jail or both. And the maximum penalty for conviction of careless and negligent operation of a motor vehicle is a fine of $1,000.00 and a year in jail. If the person has previously been convicted of such conduct, the penalty is harsher.

So why can’t police locate the person, since the dark-colored Chevy Colorado pickup with a cap was plainly caught on video? Sgt. Truhan ran the plates with the Department of Motor Vehicles, but it is not in the system. The reason for this could either be that the plates are so new they have not gotten into the system, or so old they are now purged from the system.

“If it is an ancient plate, we’ll never know,” Truhan said. But Truhan doesn’t think it is ‘ancient’ (a plate unregistered for three years). “It looks like a fresh plate. There isn’t even a sticker on it,” he said. It isn’t uncommon for a new registration to take a while to get into the DMV system, he added. It’s also possible the plates are stolen.

Truhan said the recently enacted public mask mandate within Montpelier city limits has not caused too much trouble around town other than some verbal arguments. There was one previous incident at the Co-op in which police were called, but it did not escalate to this level.

Click here for the link to Montpelier Police Department’s posting of the video.

Please contact Sergeant Chris Truhan at (802) 223-3445 with any information.