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 and Car Break Update
There have been two house breaks in Leicester since my last article. Both houses were located on Route 9. The LPD is continuing to process evidence from the breaks. There have been several recent arrests of suspects in house breaks throughout Worcester County and the LPD is looking to see if these suspects can be linked to any Leicester house breaks. There were three car breaks during the same period.
We are continuing to ask residents to call and report any suspicious activity that they see in their neighborhoods or anywhere in the community.
Other Noteworthy Incidents and Arrests
Watch Out For That Building: LPD recently responded to a report of a motor vehicle accident in the parking lot of a local apartment complex.
The call came in to the Leicester Police Department Dispatch Center at approximately 4 p.m. and the caller reported that a car had just struck the building. Police, fire and EMS all responded but, fortunately, the operator of the vehicle sustained only minor injuries. The building, however, did not fare so well. The front entrance of the apartment building, which is made of brick, was heavily damaged.
The damage to the 2008 Toyota that struck the building appeared to be minimal when compared to what happened to the building. An investigation led the LPD officer at the scene to determine that the man who had been operating the motor vehicle was operating with only a learner’s permit.
The vehicle, which he was driving, is owned by his wife. So, let’s see — driving the vehicle without a license; hit the building and heavily damaged the entrance; the car belongs to your wife — WOW!! The LPD cited the operator for driving without a license.
The Name Game: The men and women of the Leicester Police Department are continuously engaged in what could be best described as a remake of the television game show “What’s My Line.”
On an almost daily basis the suspects (or contestants) attempt to baffle the police (game show panel) by outright lying to them, and a lot of other people, as to their true identity. Here are two of the best attempts from the past week.
Is This The Famous Drug Kingpin? His name was Tony Montana and he alleges that he recently arrived in the area. Now I know you are all asking yourself: “Could this be the famous drug kingpin from the movie "Scarface”?
We will let you decide that question. Tony, or Anthony, recently arrived from Florida and began to date a woman. The relationship seemed to be going well until recently. In the early morning hours the couple was at a residence in town when Tony’s girlfriend stepped away to use the ladies room.
A short while later when she emerged, Tony was gone and so was her lap top. She called the LPD and officers responded to the scene and conducted an investigation. As Tony was believed to be on foot, the LPD requested a K-9 be brought to the scene. A State Police K-9 unit responded to the scene and began to track Tony Montana. The dog went for approximately one mile before lurching into the bushes on the side of the road. The trooper and LPD officer investigated further and found a knapsack hidden in the bush right where the dog alerted.
The knapsack was opened and inside of it was the stolen computer along with numerous other items. One item of interest was an identification card, but the name on it was not Anthony “Tony” Montana. It was another name.
Officers asked the victim to identify a photo of the suspect, which she was able to do. So, will the real Tony Montana please stand up? Please stand up? Stand up? There being no response, it was pretty obvious to the LPD that the suspect’s true identity was not Tony Montana.
The LPD also believes that he was not originally from Florida — he was actually from Worcester. The LPD will be charging him with the larceny.
Bad Choice For A False Name: An LPD officer stopped a motor vehicle for speeding at approximately 6:30 a.m. The female did not have her license with her, however, she provided the officer with her name and date of birth. She indicated that she had a Maine driver’s license and that it was valid.
The LPD officer ran a check on the information she provided and found that the woman’s license was suspended — Strike 1. The officer took the woman into custody and called for a tow truck to remove her vehicle.
Pursuant to Leicester Police Department policy, the officer conducted an inventory search of the motor vehicle. Inside the vehicle he found a temporary Massachusetts identification card with a photo of the woman he had under arrest, but it had a different name on it — Strike 2, because no, matter how you look at it, she lied to the officer at some point.
The officer conducted a follow-up and determined the ID he found in the car was the woman’s true name. He ran a check on the correct name and found that she was wanted in Nevada on an outstanding arrest warrant — Strike 3, she is out!! She was charged with being a fugitive from justice and multiple other offenses. For the record, her license was revoked under her correct name also.
I guess what happens in Nevada doesn’t always stay in Nevada.
Statistically, the fact is that very few of the many people who attempt this type of crime actually get away with it.
I Have Heard of Shoplifting But This One Is Fishy: The LPD recently responded to a call of a reported shoplifter at a local business. The person reporting the shoplifting was able to provide the dispatcher with the license plate of the vehicle in which the suspect had fled the scene.
A quick check of the Registry of Motor Vehicles Data Base led an LPD officer to the owner of the vehicle used in the shoplifting, who then provided the officer with the name and location of the person responsible for the shoplifting. A short time later, the suspect was located and taken into custody for the theft.
As investigators interviewed the suspect they learned that some of the items stolen were located nearby. Those items included several fish that were still in the bag they were in when he stole them from the store. The fish were quickly returned to the store by the officer. Officers also recovered a mattress pad and cookware set. The total value of the items stolen was more than $400.
Maybe He Should Have Used His Inside Voice: The Leicester Police Department Dispatch Center recently received a call from the court to inform the LPD that it was entering a warrant into the statewide warrant system for a Leicester resident. The court also requested that we attempt to pick the man up immediately if possible. The LPD dispatched several cruisers to the residence as the man is well known to police. Upon arrival, the LPD took up positions around the outside of the house in case the man attempted to flee.
The officer covering the front door knocked — no answer. He knocked again — no answer. The officer covering the side of the house, where the man’s bedroom is, could hear the man state to his wife, “Don’t answer it,” even though all the windows were closed. Strike #1.
The officer at the front door knocked again and the man was heard telling his wife, “Don’t answer it, I don’t want to go back.” Strike 2.
Then the officer outside the window knocked on the window and called to the man and announced, “We have a warrant for your arrest. You need to come out.” A voice could be heard yet again saying, “Don’t let them in.” Strike 3).
A phone call was placed to the house — no answer. (He is definitely out with Strike 4). A second knock on the window was done and the previous announcement was made again.
The wife opened the door and the man was taken into custody.
Here is a tip for this not-too-brilliant criminal: If you are hiding from the police in your house, maybe you should use your inside voice so the police outside don’t hear you talking about not letting them into the house. Another fact this guy should be aware of is that an arrest warrant carries with it the statutory authority for the police to enter and search a wanted person’s residence if the police have probable cause to believe that the wanted person is inside their own home.
So what does that mean? It means that because the LPD officers knew this wanted criminal mastermind was inside after hearing him talking, they had probable cause that he was hiding in his own house. Thus he was one knock away from having his door knocked off the hinges by the police battering ram. Smart choice to finally open the door. It saved him from having to buy and install a new door.
One Drink Too Many, One Parked Car Too Many: The LPD was recently asked to respond to Town Hall after the caller reported that a vehicle had just been involved in an accident and was possibly going to leave the scene.
Officers who arrived at the scene located the woman and determined that she might be under the influence of alcohol after smelling alcohol on her breath, hearing her slurred speech and seeing her unsteady on her feet. The officer requested that she preform several field sobriety tests and she answered “No.”
She was taken into custody for driving under the influence. Back at the station, when asked how many cars she hit, the woman stated “I didn’t hit any cars.” She obviously could not remember as she had one drink too many and hit one parked car too many.
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.
Chief Jim Hurley e/s
Leicester Police Department