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Washington, D.C. Man Arraigned on Charge of Possessing Stolen Government Vehicle

U.S. Attorney's Office    
District of Vermont
January 23, 2024


Burlington, Vermont – The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Vermont announced that Andrew Chaves, 24, of Washington, D.C., was arraigned yesterday in the United States District Court for the District of Vermont. A federal grand jury sitting in Burlington, Vermont returned a one-count indictment on January 18, 2024, alleging that Chaves retained and concealed a stolen U.S. Forest Service vehicle. United States Magistrate Judge Kevin J. Doyle ordered Chaves detained pending trial.

According to court records, shortly after December 27, 2023, personnel at the U.S. Forest Service facility in Manchester, Vermont noticed a missing vehicle. GPS data enabled authorities to track the vehicle, a 2018 Jeep Compass, to an abandoned Vermont National Guard facility in Waterbury, Vermont. At that location investigators recovered the vehicle , a pill bottle bearing Chaves’s name, a number of federal and state government license plates, and numerous receipts. When authorities recovered the Jeep, it bore U.S. government license plates assigned to a 2018 Ford owned by the U.S. government that had been reported stolen in November 2023 from a Lodi, New Jersey U.S. Army facility, where investigators had recovered a 2021 Chrysler, also owned by the U.S. government and reported stolen from Fort Indiantown Gap in Pennsylvania. A latent fingerprint taken from the 2021 Chrysler matched Chaves. When the U.S. Marshals arrested Chaves in Vermont on January 19, 2024, Chaves was driving the stolen 2018 Ford.

The United States Attorney’s Office emphasizes that an indictment contains allegations only and that Chaves remains presumed innocent unless and until he is convicted of a crime. If convicted, Chaves faces a maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment, although the actual sentence will be advised by the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the United States Code.

This case is being investigated by U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement and Investigations, the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. General Services Administration, the U.S. Federal Protective Service, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, with assistance from the Vermont State Police and the Manchester Police Department.

The case will be prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jon Ophardt and Colin Owyang. Chaves is represented by the Office of the Federal Public Defender.


Source: U.S. Attorney's Office press release.