R.I. prison official charged with burglary in Rangeley

RANGELEY — A deputy warden at a Rhode Island prison faces charges of going into a condo and taking four wine glasses over the weekend, police said Monday.

Officer Ron Wood issued court summonses to Robert Vitale, 48, of Foster, R.I., and William Kessler, 49, of Athol, Mass., charging each with felony burglary and misdemeanor theft by unlawful taking, Rangeley police Chief Dennis Leahy said Monday.

A Pennsylvania couple were at Moose Alley Restaurant on Main Street on Saturday for the annual Busch Sport Scene winter charity event when the woman returned to their rented condo, saw two men inside and went back to the restaurant to tell her male companion, Leahy said.

The couple went back to the condo, where they saw the men still inside and watched them leave with wine glasses from their kitchen, Leahy said.

Kessler told them, “'I used to own this place and I still have the keys,’” Leahy said.

Police, after talking with the couple, went to another condo in the same complex and found Vitale and Kessler, he said. Kessler repeated to police that he used to own the condo and still had the keys, Leahy said.

The two were given summonses to appear in Franklin County Superior Court in Farmington on March 25.

Officer Wood said an investigator from the Rhode Island prison where Vitale works called Leahy on Monday about the case.

According to the Web site, www.doc.ri.gov/institutions/facilities/price.php, Vitale is listed as a deputy warden at the Donald Price medium security facility in Cranston, R.I.

The keys were returned to the landlord, Leahy said.


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Kary Franchetti's picture

Is the wolf guarding the chicken coop in RI?

As a member of the group renting the burglarized condo that weekend, I can tell you that this incident wasn't only about stealing a couple of wine glasses. The RI prison official is said to be the previous owner of the condo and was staying in an adjacent condo as the owner's "guest". One person had been caught in our condo less than an hour before the burglarly. The first guy gave a line about having a hurt friend out on the lake and needing help. He was asked to leave our condo. Shortly thereafter, upon hearing this, some of us returned to find the RI prison official coming out of the condo with the wine glasses. So, they entered TWICE (that we know of) using keys they'd saved from selling the condo over a year earlier! Why would they save the keys and then bring them all the way to Maine with them on this trip if they didn't intend to use them? We can only wonder how many times they'd done this before without getting caught. Either they had no fear of the law or they didn't feel the law applied to them but, clearly, as prison officials, they knew what the consequences would be if caught. Sadly, there was a young teenager in their group who witnessed the entire thing.....that's a nice lesson for a law enforcment official to be teaching kids. Moreover, the person who owns the condo the burglars were staying in for the weekend is the same person who bought the burglarized condo. Talk about disrespectful.....your friend buys your condo, invites you to stay in his condo with a bunch of friends for the weekend, and you thank him by burglarizing the other condo he's rented out to unsuspecting victims. Really. This guy does not deserve to be a steward of the law. This was not a school yard prank by a couple of stupid teenagers.

Glenn Aho's picture

What a bunch of bozos. It

What a bunch of bozos. It wouldn't surprise me if Kessler thought his position with the R.I. DOC would allow him to act in this manner.

Oh and seeing as he is Law Enforcement or rather was he of all people should know having keys to property you don't own doesn't suddenly make it yours.

On that note this is a great example of why everyone needs to change their locks when they buy a dwelling.


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