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Police charge 'Lawnmower Man'

East Lyme - A Vermont man was arrested on burglary and larceny charges Wednesday morning after a wild ride in which he allegedly stole a lawn mower from school grounds in the middle of the night, drove it to his father's house a couple of miles away, cut the grass in the morning and then abandoned the mower after attempting to return it.

Police said that Nikolaus Trom-bley, 22, of Sandgate, Vt., also stole a Motorola radio and charger so he could listen for police.

According to police, Trombley broke into an office trailer behind the track at East Lyme High School at about 3 a.m.

Trombley reportedly told police that he was drunk and looking for a place to sleep. He looked through the office trailer for keys to the high school before deciding that was a bad idea, according to police.

He saw keys labeled "Scagg Mower" and decided to take the mower for a ride home because he knew how to operate it. Video footage from the town's emergency center, located on Boston Post Road, shows Trombley riding the mower west, toward his father's house, police said.

Police responded to a call of the mower being driven down the street a little after 8 a.m. Wednesday. A man walking down the street also told police he saw his neighbor cutting the lawn with it.

Police found the mower abandoned at the intersection of Boston Post Road and Spring Rock Road, near the Rustic Café and about 100 yards from Trombley's father's house, said East Lyme police Sgt. Joe San Juan.

Trombley allegedly told police he was trying to return the mower but gave up.

The mower is valued at approximately $10,000, and the radio and charger are valued at about $1,800, according to police.

Trombley was charged with third-degree burglary and third-degree larceny. He posted a $10,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in New London Superior Court on May 13.

k.crompton@theday.com

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