Articles Posted in Property Crimes

North Shore Bank, located on Andover Street in Peabody, was robbed Thursday afternoon by two males, and police are still searching for the suspects, according to the Peabody Patch. Police were alerted to a suspicious male in the bank at approximately 2:30 p.m. The man demanded money and left with an undetermined amount, according to a Peabody detective. Surveillance videos reveal one man wearing sunglasses, a hat, and a hood demanding money from a bank teller. There was apparently no weapon, and no one was injured. Police are looking for a Toyota Camry and are asking citizens to call with any information.

From the perspective of a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney, there are several issues in this report worth discussing. First of all, the Toyota Camry is perhaps the most common type of car on the road. It has been the best-selling car in America for 10 consecutive years, according to autoguide.com. There is no indication in this article that the police are looking for a particular color, year or license plate number. There is also no indication that the police have any physical description of an operator or passenger of the Camry. This is important because in order to lawfully stop a car or a person based on a description, the description cannot be so general that it would include a large number of people. The description must be sufficiently particularized, and it has to go beyond obvious details. Here, the bare “Toyota Camry” description is extremely general. If any person is stopped in connection with this investigation, they may have strong grounds for arguing that the stop was illegal.

It might be that police ultimately receive a tip that a person is suspicious because they were seen with a large amount of cash. If this becomes the case, it should be noted that police must have a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity before they can legally stop a person, and being in possession of cash is not a criminal activity. Here in Massachusetts, where a robbery is unarmed, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant used force or threat of force or assaulted and put the other person in fear. In one Massachusetts case, the Appeals Court said that a jury could find that a defendant’s masked appearance and his gestures could be a basis for fear that the defendant would use force unless his demands were complied with. In Massachusetts, the crime is punishable by life or any term of years. Bank robbery is a federal crime under Title 18, section 2113 of the United States Code. Under the federal law, bank robbery is punishable by up to 20 years.

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The Lawrence Eagle Tribune reports that a former Zion Bible College student has been charged with selling $6,000 worth of jewelry stolen from several homes near the school. Twenty-eight year old Ruston Prothro of Cumberland Avenue in Haverill faces multiple charges of receiving stolen property valued over $250.00 in a scheme where he pawned jewelry stolen from Haverhill homes between September 14th and September 18th.

In order for the Commonwealth to prove that the defendant was guilty of receiving stolen property, they would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the Haverhill transplant was in possession of the jewelry and knew that it was stolen. In Massachusetts, if the items were “recently stolen” that is a factor that a jury can take into consideration when deciding whether a defendant knew that a particular object was stolen. If the value of the property is valued under $250.00 the charge is considered a misdemeanor. If the value of the property is valued at over $250.00, which seems to be the case here, it is a felony offense. In Massachusetts if the potential sentence is a house of correction or jail sentence the charge is considered a misdemeanor. If a defendant faces the possibility of going to state prison then the charge is considered a felony.

If you or a family member has been charged with a crime it is important to have an experienced Boston area lawyer on your side. Before going to trial or pleading guilty a defendant should be informed of the type of potential sentence he or she may receive if convicted and whether a conviction would be a felony or a misdemeanor charge. A felony conviction may have an adverse affect on future employment opportunities.

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The Lawrence Eagle Tribune reports that there have been a string of purses stolen from parked cars around Lawrence cemeteries. A woman reported that while visiting her mother’s grave a female approached her car asking for directions then stole her pocketbook. The police claim that there have been four similar purse thefts in Lawrence cemeteries including Elmwood Cemetery.

Although the crime may appear minor to the perpetrators, an individual will likely be charged with a felony offense of larceny over $250.00 for committing this type of act. In Massachusetts, the government must prove that a defendant stole the item and had a specific intent to permanently deprive the owner of her property, in this case a purse. Furthermore, the item must be valued at over $250.00. The offense is considered a felony because a defendant can receive a state prison sentence if he or she is convicted. If the Commonwealth proceeds against a defendant in district court he or she may receive up to two and one half years in jail if convicted.

If you or a loved one is charged with this type of crime, you must have an experienced Massachusetts lawyer on your side to ensure all of your rights are protected.

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The Salem News reports that nineteen year old Marshall Glover has been charged with stealing a woman’s purse from the Salem courthouse. According to reports, after passing through the metal detector the security guard informed the woman that she could not take her cell phone into the courthouse. The forgetful visitor left her purse in the bin and departed to find a safe place for her phone. Another court visitor, who was currently on probation, placed his coat over the handbag and scooped it up after it passed through the X-Ray machine. Glover was not only charged with stealing the purse but he also faces a probation surrender hearing. It has been reported that Glover will spend approximately one month in jail without the possibility of posting bail until his next court date.

In Massachusetts, in order to prove larceny the government must prove that Glover intentionally took the purse with the intent to permanently keep it. Although the facts of this case are not all known, a viable defense in these circumstances may be that Glover accidentally picked up the purse when he picked up his jacket. If convicted of larceny in the district court a defendant can face up to two and one half years in jail.

Here, the defendant also faces a probation surrender. At a probation revocation hearing the formal rules of evidence do not apply. The standard that the probation department must meet to establish a preliminary violation in Massachusetts is probable cause: the standard at the final surrender hearing is preponderance of the evidence. The rules of admissibility at a probation hearing are less stringent than the rules of evidence at trial. For example, at a probation hearing hearsay may be admissible if it has “indicia of reliability.” However, if a probation revocation hearing is based entirely on hearsay evidence of criminal conduct, the judge should place on the record a reasoned statement indicating the reliability of the hearsay evidence and a finding of good cause for the Commonwealth not producing a witness with personal knowledge of the violation. If a judge finds that a defendant has violated the terms of his probation, he or she can generally be sentenced up to the maximum number of years provided by the statute.

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The Salem News recently reported that Jeffrey Monico and Kevin Maloney, both twenty- eight years old have been charged with crimes in connection with a number of holdups of banks located on the North Shore. The banks are located in Lawrence, Andover, Ipswich, Beverly, Peabody and Danvers and the incidents took place back in April, 2008. Their crime spree came to an abrupt halt when they were arrested last spring as they left the scene of a credit union robbery in New Hampshire.

The two men face charges of unarmed robbery related to robberies of two Salem Five branches in Danvers, Massachusetts, a Danvers Bank branch in Andover, a Sovereign Bank in Lawrence, stealing by confinement at a Sovereign Bank in Ipswich, stealing by confinement in an attempted holdup at the Bank of America in Beverly and stealing by confinement in Peabody, Massachusetts. The two men are currently being held on charges in New Hampshire and are expected to be arraigned on these charges in Massachusetts within the next few weeks.

In Massachusetts, if convicted of unarmed or armed robbery a defendant faces the possibility of receiving a life sentence. Thus, if you have been charged with a crime it is imperative that you have an experienced Massachusetts attorney on your side. Having a trial lawyer on your side from the beginning is critical to developing a successful strategy. Depending on the facts of the case, establishing that a defendant has been misidentified often involves extensive pre-trial investigation. Furthermore, if the police spoke with a defendant or conducted any type of search the case must be evaluated to determine whether a motion to suppress any statements or evidence should be filed.

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It appears that the recent robbery of the Dunkin’ Donuts located at 334 Lynnway in Lynn Massachusetts was an inside job. According to the Lynn Item, an employee of the establishment, 43-year-old Margaret Young and her boyfriend, Theron Grady conspired to rob the coffee shop during Young’s shift. It has been reported that the police responded to the location as the result of a call for a robbery in progress. The responding officers spoke with Young and another employee who maintained that a Hispanic male dressed in gray had jumped over the counter and stole money. Although Young failed to identify her boyfriend as the culprit, the other employee positively identified Grady as the robber. It is also alleged that Grady is on a video tape jumping over the counter and taking an undetermined amount of cash. When the couples’ scheme was apparently exposed the woman was fired and the pair is facing charges of unarmed robbery, conspiracy to commit a crime and malicious destruction of property. According to reports, Young directed an employee to “go home” prior to the robbery and face an additional charge of intimidation of a witness.

In Massachusetts, if the defendants do not have extensive criminal records there is a chance that the Essex County District Attorney’s Office will reduce the unarmed robbery charge to larceny of property. A reduction in the charge will enable the case to be resolved in the district court as opposed to the superior court. The charge of unarmed robbery can only be prosecuted in the superior court. However, the charge of larceny over $250.00 can be proceed in the district court.

In Massachusetts, in order for the Commonwealth to prove larceny, it must establish that the defendant took the property of another with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of it. If you have been charged with any crime it is important that you have a Lynn criminal lawyer on your side. Depending on the facts of the case, it is important to develop a theory of defense as soon as possible. In this case, it appears that the Commonwealth will have to proceed against Young under the theory of joint venture. In Massachusetts, the test relative to whether a defendant is a “joint venturer” is whether the defendant was (1) present at the scene of the crime, (2) with the knowledge that another intends to commit the crime or with intent to commit a crime, and (3) by agreement is willing and available to help the other if necessary.

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The Lawrence Eagle Tribune reports that two Haverhill Massachusetts men face criminal charges following a high-speed car chase in Route I-495. The car, estimated to have been traveling over 100 miles per hour, caught the attention of a State Police Officer who was patrolling the highway. The authorities tracked the car which traveled from Amesbury Massachusetts to Haverhill Massachusetts during a chase which ranged with speeds from 55 to 85 miles per hour.

Haverhill police ultimately spotted the car in Haverhill and observed Aldis Suero and Aneudis Mendez both 23, walking nearby. Suero faces the criminal charge of receiving stolen property. According to reports, because Suero was out on bail on another matter the judge revoked his bail ordering that he be held without the possibility of posting bail. Apparently, Suero is also facing criminal charges stemming from and incident of alleged domestic violence. The specific charges are believed to be assault and battery and intimidation of a witness stemming from an incident with his girlfriend. Mendez was also arrested but is expected to be summonsed to Haverhill District Court to answer to a criminal charge of disorderly person. According to the Tribune, Suero’s lawyer maintained that Suero denied that he had “no knowledge” of the car’s ownership and he only knew the driver by the name of “D.”

In Massachusetts, M.G.L.A. 266 § 60 is the statute that relates to the charge an punishment for receiving stolen property. The Commonwealth must prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt on order for a defendant to be convicted of receiving stolen property: (1) That the property in question was stolen, (2) That the defendant knew that the property had been stolen, and (3) That defendant knowingly had the stolen property in his possession. All three of these elements must be proved in order for a defendant to be convicted. If the amount of property “received” is valued at less than $250.00 then the charge is a misdemeanor. However, if the value of the property is over $250.00 then a defendant faces the possibility of receiving a sentence to state prison and the crime is considered a felony.

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Joseph Lafata, 28 years old from Gloucester Massachusetts, appeared in the Salem District Court and plead not guilty to the charge of armed robbery of an Eastern Bank branch in Salem Massachusetts. According to The Salem News, Lafata was identified as the perpetrator of the robbery after three separate jurisdictions recognized him following a description or through a booking photograph from previous arrests after he became a suspect.

It is alleged that Lafata walked into the bank late in the afternoon covering his head and demanding money. The Salem News reports that the culprit threatened to shoot the teller during the hold up. Although Lafata was identified by law enforcement officers that apparently recognized him from earlier dealings, the tellers that witnessed the robbery failed to identify Lafata during a photo array. Because Lafata is charged with armed robbery which is a felony and carries a potential penalty of up to life in prison, he will likely be indicted and the case will be litigated in the Salem Superior Court.

Based on the facts of this case it appears that a reasonable defense is that the defendant has been misidentified as the perpetrator. Although all of the details are not available at this time, it would be critical to determine how the law enforcement personnel determined that Lafata was the perpetrator. Areas that must be explored include determining whether any of the witnesses that identified Lafata have any bias against him. A thorough pre-trial investigation is essential to defend this type of case.

Other types of property crimes that defendants face in district court include larceny of property valued at over $250.00 or under $250.00. The difference between the two crimes, other than the amount taken, is that larceny under is a misdemeanor and larceny over is a felony. A felony is any crime where the potential sentence includes a commitment to state prison. A misdemeanor is any crime where the potential sentence includes a commitment to the house of correction.

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The Lawrence Eagle Tribune reports that an Essex County jury convicted former Department of Public Works Director James Flaherty, 67, and his son Kevin Flaherty, 37, on larceny charges. This verdict comes following a protacted trial in an Essex County Massachusetts Superior Court where the two men took the stand in their own defense.

James Flaherty faces up to five years in prison for the larceny conviction. His son faces the possibility of an increased sentence due to convictions for presenting a false claim. Although the prosecutor asked for immediate incarceration, the duo remain free at least until their sentencing hearing scheduled for June 20th.

In order to be convicted for the crime of larceny, the prosecutor must prove that the defendants took the property from another individual with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property. In this case, the prosecutor’s theory was that the father son team used the city account to buy hardware for their private use. In Massachusetts, a conviction for larceny of propery valued at under $250.00 is a misdemeanor, with the maximum sentence being a sentence to the house of correction. A conviction for the felony charge of larceny of property valued at over $250.00 carries the potential penalty of a committed sentence to state prison.
In the case, the government claimed that the pair commited larceny by using city accounts to buy hardware for their private use.

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According to The Lawrence Eagle Tribune, a Lawrence Massachusetts man was arrested and charged with carrying a firearm without a license, discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a building, and possession of ammunition without a firearms identification card. The Tribune reports that police were called to the Fern Street neighborhood due to reports of a man firing up to six gunshots “over his head.” During the early morning hours, a neighbor heard commotion and went to his window where he saw a pair of men. One of the individuals was “holding a gun over [the other person’s] head.” After repeatedly firing the gun, witnesses stated that the man walked into an apartment on Fern Street in Lawrence.

The police arrested this defendant and three of his roommates. The paper reports that one of the roommates was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest while the other two were charged as keepers of a disorderly home. Police recovered a .32-caliber semiautomatic handgun behind the home. Shell casings were also recovered from the street.

If you have been charged with any crime, you must contact a Massachusetts defense attorney to ensure that all of your rights are protected. In any case where “possession” of the alleged item is an element of the crime and experienced trial attorney can evaluate whether filing a pre-trial motion to suppress the evidence is a viable option. A successful litigation of a motion to suppress evidence means the suppression of the physical evidence and often times dismissal of the case against a defendant.

If you have been charged with a criminal offense, it important that you contact a criminal attorney familiar with the elements that the government must prove to secure a conviction. For example, to prove the crime of discharging of a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling or other building in use you can face a penalty ranging from by a fine of not less than fifty nor more than one hundred dollars or by imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for not more than three months, or both. However, there are exceptions to the enforcement of this law that include the lawful defense of life and property; any law enforcement officer acting in the discharge of his duties; (c) persons using underground or indoor target or test ranges with the consent of the owner or legal occupant thereof; (d) persons using outdoor skeet, trap, target or test ranges with the consent of the owner or legal occupant of the land on which the range is established; (e) persons using shooting galleries, licensed and defined pursuant to statute; and (f) the discharge of blank cartridges for theatrical, athletic, ceremonial, firing squad, or other purposes in accordance with the statute.

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