Home News and Features Arrest at Berlin Mall Follows Alleged Kidnapping of Truck Driver

Arrest at Berlin Mall Follows Alleged Kidnapping of Truck Driver

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Around 5:00 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 13, Berlin police received a call for help from the Berlin Mall, Berlin Police Chief James Pontbriand said in an interview. The alleged incident began in southern Vermont, Pontbriand said. A Berlin Police Department press release stated that 37-year-old Barry Perez of Hartford, Connecticut allegedly “brandished a fire arm (sic) at a tractor trailer operator who had stopped at the scene of a motor vehicle rollover to check on the status of the operator of the box truck on Interstate 89.”

Per the release, Perez allegedly instructed the tractor-trailer operator to “drive.” The tractor-trailer then traveled north on Interstate 89, Pontbriand said, as “that passenger then held that driver at gunpoint … against his will, and they ended up here, in Berlin, at the Berlin Mall, and the driver was able to exit the vehicle and left the passenger in the vehicle and he was able to make contact with police.”

Perez stayed in the truck, per the release, and Pontbriand said the driver noted to police that he believed the man was experiencing “a drug crisis or some kind of mental health crisis. He wasn’t really acting (in) the right, normal frame of mind.”

Talking to Perez did not result in him leaving the vehicle, Pontbriand said. As police were concerned that Perez was allegedly armed, they used “a tactical approach with the assistance of other agencies and got him out of the vehicle.” Assisting agencies included the Montpelier Police Department, Capital Police, the Northfield Police Department, and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. 

The tractor-trailer driver was not physically injured, Pontbriand said, and gave a statement “to support the charges that this person is being charged with.”

The alleged weapon, Pontbriand said, was “a pellet gun that looked like an actual firearm.”

Charges against Perez include kidnapping, first-degree unlawful restraint, aggravated assault, and reckless endangerment, per the release. Perez was arraigned on Friday in Washington County Criminal Court and is currently being held without bail. 

“I really appreciate the assistance of other agencies in really (bringing) a peaceful resolution to this,” Pontbriand said.