More arrests at Shady Lawn as drugs, lots of cash and a gun are found

Submitted 2 years ago
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Eric Francis

Four suspects connected to Wilder armed robberies

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION - A dramatic arrest at Walmart in West Lebanon and a raid at the Shady Lawn Motel in White River Junction on Friday afternoon resulted in the arrest of three additional suspects police believe are connected to the pair of armed robberies of gas stations in Wilder earlier in the week.

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    The man police believe carried the gun into both the Cumberland Farms and the Mobil station in Wilder and actually carried out the robberies, Justin Hatch, 28, of North Haverhill, NH had already been picked up Thursday night after he blew past a traffic light and was stopped within sight of the Shady Lawn Motel on Route 5.

    Friday's additional arrests came as the result of the confession that Hatch reportedly provided to officers Thursday night which gave Hartford Police the information they needed to search both the room at the Shady Lawn where Hatch had been staying with friends, and the room next door where he said a drug dealer was doing land office business allegedly selling thousands of dollars of heroin and crack cocaine daily.  

Cash, drugs and gun found at the Shady Lawn Motel on Friday

    Hartford Police Chief Phillip Kasten announced early Friday evening that as a result of the noontime search of the Shady Lawn his officers have arrested Travis Popp, 29, of Hartford, who police believe is the friend of Hatch's who planned the armed robberies, drove the getaway car for Hatch and even provided Hatch with the guns that were used.  According to an affidavit filed with the court, Hatch claimed that even the distinctive shoes he wore during the robberies which left telltale footprints in the snow belonged to Popp.

     "During the search," which was carried out by Hartford Police with assistance from the Vermont State Police Tactical Services Unit as well as Lebanon and Norwich Police officers, Chief Kasten wrote, "investigators recovered additional evidence linking Popp and Hatch to both robberies including a black pellet pistol."

Travis Popp, 29, of Hartford was arrested at the Walmart in West Lebanon Friday afternoon

    Later in the afternoon, Lebanon Police officers wearing tactical gear moved in and arrested Popp at the Walmart in West Lebanon without incident.  The Vermont investigation is continuing and police expect to file additional charges against both Hatch and Popp based on evidence recovered from their motel room; however, Popp is currently being held on an unrelated New Hamsphire arrest warrant stemming from a previous theft complaint.

Aaron Butler, 28, is expected to face heroin trafficking charges

    In the room next door to Popp's room at the Shady Lawn, the large police contingent found New Hampshire fugitive Aaron Butler, 28, and his wife, Kerri Butler, 31, who police said were in possession of more than 80 grams of suspected heroin and $16,000 dollars cash.

Kerri Butler, 31, is also expected to face a heroin trafficking charge

    "In addition to fugitive charges related to a New Hampshire warrant for violating his parole condition, Aaron Butler and his wife are currently being processed and will be charged with heroin trafficking and other related offenses," Chief Kasten said, adding, "Hartford officers continue to work closely with our allied policing partners, including the Norwich Police to determine what if any involvement these individuals have in other robberies that have occurred within the region. That investigation continues."

Anyone with information about these offenses is asked to contact the Hartford Police Department at (802) 295-9425 

Vermont News can be contacted at

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