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Vt. man arrested on guns, ammo charges

WHATELY — A Brattleboro, Vt., man was arrested on multiple firearms charges after being stopped for an expired registration.

At about 11:30 Thursday night, Trooper Joseph Petty was patrolling the northbound lanes of Interstate 91 in Whately, when he saw a Chevrolet Express van with expired Pennsylvania plates.

Petty wrote that the driver was sweating from the forehead, his hands shaking so badly that he couldn’t hold onto papers as he searched for the vehicle’s registration. The driver told the trooper he was nervous because he’s not used to being stopped by police.

With its registration expired, the van had to be towed, and as Petty began a standard pre-tow inventory of the vehicle, he discovered a loaded 9mm pistol in a holster under the driver’s seat, according to his report. He then discovered that the driver didn’t have a Massachusetts license to carry a firearm, placed him under arrest and called for backup.

Timothy R. Harding, 33, was arrested, and charged with carrying a firearm without a license, two counts of possession of a large-capacity firearm, possession of a firearm without a firearm identification card, and driving an unregistered motor vehicle.

He told police he was on his way home from visiting friends in Long Island, N.Y., according to the report.

When backup arrived, a search of the van’s cargo area netted an unloaded Tec-9 pistol with a pair of empty 30-round magazines, well over the state’s 10-round limit. Also found were a .308-caliber semi-automatic rifle, a matching 20-round magazine loaded with 19 rounds, and another empty 20-round magazine, as well as cartridges in a plastic bag and several opened boxes of ammunition, more than 150 rounds in total.

The weapons, magazines, and ammunition found are legal in the man’s home state of Vermont. Vermont doesn’t require a license or permit to possess or carry loaded firearms, only that purchasers pass an in-store background check.

Petty wrote that, because the weapons were not locked up, the driver was not in compliance with laws that allow firearms to be transported through Massachusetts without an in-state license.

Harding was arraigned Friday in Greenfield District Court, and released on $200 cash bail. He is due back in court May 7.

David Rainville can be reached at:
or 413-772-0261, ext. 279

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