NEWPORT CITY — An Orleans woman pleaded not guilty to assault and robbery with a weapon after police said she repeatedly tased a coworker at Maplefields store in Orleans and stole cash Wednesday morning.
Jenna Connelly, 40, was held on $5,000 bail and other conditions at the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility in South Burlington, according to online inmate records and records in Orleans Superior Court Criminal Division.
Vermont State Police said Connelly entered the store early Wednesday morning and tased the clerk — who she knew — twice in the back and one in the stomach.
Connelly demanded that the clerk give her the cash in the register drawer “or she would shoot her and everybody in the store,” according to an affidavit from Vermont State Police Detective Sgt. Clark Lombardi.
Evidence and suspicions from coworkers led police to Connelly, who they arrested later Wednesday.
At arraignment Thursday, Judge A. Gregory Rainville said Connelly could only be released into the custody of a responsible adult and would have to be on 24-hour curfew if released. She was ordered not to contact the alleged victim.
The judge also ordered her to enter a drug treatment program if recommended.
Clerks at the store became suspicious of a person slight of build and height who was hanging around inside the store beginning at about 5 a.m. Wednesday, Lombardi said in his affidavit.
The person — in a hoodie, sweatpants and sweater, winter hat and baseball cap with a white mask — was hanging around, Lombardi said. The person bought some lottery tickets and then was asked by one clerk to leave the store.
The person re-entered the store at about 6:15 a.m. while one clerk was outside and then tased the other clerk, Lombardi said.
The clerk gave the person the cash, and the person left, Lombardi said.
Clerks said they suspected that the robber was actually their coworker Connelly, who matched the voice, build and height of the suspect, Lombardi said. The manager also said the person’s clothing and mannerisms matched Connelly’s.
The manager told police that Connelly had recently told fellow employees that she had purchased a pink Taser.
Police investigated Connelly’s whereabouts and determined she had driven a vehicle that early morning, hit a snowbank, and left boots in the vehicle that matched those worn by the robber, Lombardi said.
Connelly had also left a note saying that she had been called in to the store to fix a register, which she did not do, Lombardi said.
Police talked to Connelly at 11:45 a.m. Wednesday at an Irasburg residence, when she denied going to the Maplefields that morning or robbing it, Lombardi said.
She also tweeted a relative that “Maplefields has just been robbed” at 6:58 a.m. Wednesday, Lombardi stated.
She said she only learned about the robbery at 8:49 a.m. and made up the tweet about the robbery, Lombardi said. She also said she was given cash by a friend, who later denied he had done so, Lombardi said.
Police said Connelly had $200 in cash on her and four scratch tickets that matched those sold at the store to the person who robbed the store.