LEICESTER, Mass. — Being a police officer is like no other job in the world. It can best be described as having a ringside seat to the greatest show on earth every day. As you read the accounts set forth in the LPD update, it is important to remember:
We could not make this stuff up if we tried.
No one lies to the police.
The names of the individuals involved in the cases discussed in this column have not been published to protect their identity.
House Break Update
Housebreaks are not a local problem; they are a regional issue as most perpetrators, who commit housebreaks, are transient. The LPD is an active member of the Worcester County Breaking and Entering Task Force, which focuses its efforts and information sharing to solve crimes.
This week the LPD and other communities received some much-needed help in solving the rash of housebreaks when two local police agencies made significant arrests. The Auburn Police Department arrested two suspects after they were seen fleeing a housebreak in that community. One of the suspects is a Leicester resident who will be looked at as a suspect in several breaking-and-entering incidents in our community. The Sutton Police Department arrested two females with a cache of jewelry from area housebreaks as well.
Other Noteworthy Incidents and Arrests
You Can Pick Your Friends But You Can’t Pick Your Relatives – Nothing sums this case up better than that phrase. An LPD officer on patrol stopped a motor vehicle for speeding in late July. The operator did not have his license with him but provided the officer with his name, date of birth, license number, and all the other pertinent information pertaining to him and the vehicle he was operating, which was an Audi with dealer plates attached to it. The information was checked by the officer and it was all accurate.
The officer issued the man a citation and that ended the incident, until the man called the officer last week and indicated that he had gotten a notice from the court regarding the citation that was issued.
The problem began when the man who was calling the officer gave the same name as the man stopped for speeding back in July. The caller indicated that he had never received a ticket in Leicester and that he had never driven an Audi.
The officer conducted a follow-up investigation and determined the name of the individual who had actually been driving the vehicle in July. The officer called the man whose name had been used in July and provided him with the name of the suspect, asking him if he knew the impostor.
The man responded, “That’s my brother!” The officer issued a new citation to the man’s brother with a list of new charges added onto it. The officer also provided the man, whose name had been used back in July, with the information so he could clear his name with the Registry of Motor Vehicles, district court, and his insurance company, as he will receive a surcharge for the moving violation.
When I finished reading the report I thought to myself, "The guy driving the vehicle used his brother’s identity and got away with it and all that he got for it was just a speeding ticket. Why didn’t he just pay the ticket and no one would likely have found out what he did? Now he faces criminal charges and an awkward Thanksgiving dinner with his brother."
Shoplifting Is On The Rise – The number of shoplifting incidents that LPD responded to during the past week continues to rise. Here is a list of the incidents that LPD officers had to investigate:
That Car Has Not Run In Months – LPD officers responded to a reported shoplifting at a local retail establishment. Witnesses to the shoplifting reported that a man had just left the bathroom of the store and that, immediately after he left, employees located product packaging indicating that items had been removed from their packages and concealed.
The suspect even took a tool off the shelf and opened it and used it to open other packages to steal. Once the items were concealed, the suspect quickly left the store and got into the back seat of a motor vehicle and made his getaway. One witness was able to get the license plate number of the vehicle and provided it to the officers who responded to investigate the incident.
The investigating officer used the Registry of Motor Vehicles data base to determine who owned the getaway vehicle. The LPD officer contacted the owner of the vehicle and asked who had used the car on the day in question and the woman stated, “I am trying to sell that vehicle. It hasn’t run in months.” The officer informed the woman it had been seen in Leicester and asked her the current location of the vehicle so he could confirm her side of the story.
The owner stated that the vehicle is stored at her son’s home and provided his name and address. The LPD officer investigating the incident was able to locate a photo of the vehicle owner’s son and conducted a photo identification with the witness and the witness identified the vehicle owner’s son as the man who committed the shoplifting. The man stole multiple DVD’s, Drakkar Noir Cologne and snips that he used to open the packages containing the DVD’s.
The suspect has been summonsed into court to face a larceny charge. It is unknown if he will use the broken down vehicle that is for sale to get to court.
Why Did You Turn Onto This Street? - LPD officers responded to another reported shoplifting last week and, as they responded, they were given an update on what had occurred. An employee of the store reported that two men had just loaded up a cart of merchandise, including a large quantity of baby formula, and attempted to leave the store without paying for it.
An employee of the store confronted the men and they left the cart full of merchandise behind and quickly made their way to a vehicle in the lot and fled the area – STRIKE 1.
The responding officers were provided a description of the vehicle, including its license plate number. One of the LPD officers heading to the scene observed the vehicle traveling west on Route 9, and, as the cruiser closed in on the vehicle, it made an abrupt right hand turn onto Burncoat Street – Acting Guilty, STRIKE 2.
The LPD officer stopped the vehicle and questioned the driver. To make a long story short, the operator admitted that he and the passenger had just left the store where the incident occurred. When the officer asked the operator why he abruptly turned onto Burncoat Street, the operator stated, “Because he told me to.”
The operator made a head motion to the passenger as he made the statement (bump, bump – you may recognize that sound as being the bus running over the passenger after his buddy just threw him under it). Giving Up Your Co-Conspirator – Strike 3.
The officer asked the passenger for his ID and was told that he did not have one with him. The passenger provided a name and other identifying demographics that the officer attempted to verify and, of course, could not be verified – False Info, YOU’RE OUT!!
The LPD officer conducted a short investigation and both men were arrested. The officers were able to determine the passenger’s true identity and to confirm that he was wanted elsewhere on outstanding warrants. The cases of these two shoplifters are currently pending before the East Brookfield District Court.
The Car That Cannot Be Found – Officers from the LPD responded to another shoplifting this week after two men were reported to have left a local retail establishment with a personal computer.
The witness was able to provide police with the license plate of the motor vehicle and a description of the suspects. LPD investigators have attempted to contact the vehicle’s owner without any success. During the course of the investigation, the LPD learned that the vehicle was also wanted in connection with a hit-and-run accident in another community.
That police department has also not been able to locate the vehicle. So, how did a car become involved in a hit and run and a shoplifting and then just disappear? Stay tuned – there has to be more to this story.
Driver Falls Out of Vehicle During Crash & Walks Away. What? – If you were driving on Route 9 near Manville Street last week you might have witnessed an accident that looked more like a scene out of an action movie. The accident occurred at approximately 7:30 a.m. when a vehicle attempted to turn onto Manville Street from Route 9 eastbound.
The vehicle making the turn pulled in front of a vehicle that was traveling west. After the impact, the driver of the vehicle traveling west fell out of his vehicle. The operator of the westbound vehicle was found sitting in the roadway when officers arrived at the scene.
The man was evaluated by emergency medical personnel at the scene, and, as if it were written for the next version of Ripley’s “Believe It Or Not,” he declined medical treatment and began walking away. The vehicle that the man fell out of continued down Manville Street a short distance after it had been hit and collided with a parked car. The operator of the first vehicle has been issued a citation.
Some People Just Don’t Get It – There are some people who call the LPD repeatedly reporting lots of crime. One such caller called the LPD three times in a relatively short period of time to report:
- Her jewelry had been stolen and she had an idea who took it, but did not want to report it stolen until she looked around for it more to see if she could find it.
- Her medication was missing and might have been stolen. She also did not want to report this yet because she might have taken the medication.
- Her debit card was missing.
During the course of her conversations with the police, she indicated that her boyfriend and the woman he is with may have been involved in these incidents. LPD officers spoke to the boyfriend and his female friend who denied any involvement in anything. While speaking with the pair, officers ran routine checks on both of them and discovered that they both had suspended driver’s licenses.
The police cleared the call at around 1:30 a.m. and you would think that everyone would just go to bed – but not this crew. The man with the suspended license jumped into a car and drove down the street right past the officer who just spoke to him about the incident, knowing that his license was suspended – he got STRIKE 1, 2 and 3 for that impressive feat and he went directly to jail.
National Drug Take Back
Plan early and start to gather up all those unused or expired prescription drugs that have been taking up room in your medicine cabinet. Bring them to the fourth National Drug Take Back on Saturday, Sept. 29, at the Leicester Recycling Center, 200 Manville St., Leicester, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The items can be turned in with no questions asked.
This marks the fifth National Take Back that Leicester Police Department and Leicester Recycling Center have partnered together to keep unused drugs from being diverted for illegal use or destroyed improperly, harming the environment.
The opinions set forth in this article are those of Chief James Hurley and do not represent the opinions of the town of Leicester or other members of the Leicester Police Department.
I would like to take the opportunity to thank the residents of the community for their continued support of the police department and also to thank all the men and women of the LPD for the professional and effective work they do in the community.