Archives For Theft

Chase led police through several towns

After crashing a stolen Acura, a second carjacking was reported on Nashua Road.

Stan Forman/WCVB

NEWTON, Mass. — A suspect was taken into custody in Bedford on Monday after leading police on a wild chase through several towns.

The suspect was arrested on Springs Road after the vehicle struck a pole, according to Billerica police. The suspect suffered a gunshot wound and was taken to a local hospital, sources said.

Images: Police chase

The incident started in Newton, where shots were fired during a carjacking in West Newton Square. The suspect vehicle fled to Billerica, where a second carjacking was reported on Nashua Road.

The suspect led police to Carlisle, where shots were fired. The suspect then crashed the second stolen vehicle, a Toyota Tundra, in Concord and carjacked a Ford Flex at gunpoint on Lowell Road.

“There were numerous cruisers on the side of the road. The gentleman just crashed the car, and we heard someone say he hijacked the car,” witness Jason Drinkwater said. “It’s crazy. In Concord, it’s crazy.”

The suspect then fled to Hanscom Air Force Base, where the car drove through the guard gate. The driver continued and was arrested on Springs Road in Bedford when the vehicle struck a pole, police said.

The suspect was not identified.

Fusco arrested in Conn. after traffic stop

LACONIA, N.H. — A man has been accused of stealing Rolex watches from a Laconia jewelry store, and is expected to appear in court on Monday.

Police said Shane Fusco, 38, used fraudulent checks to buy three Rolex watches, worth more than $35,000, from Sawyer’s Jewelry.

Fusco was arrested during a traffic stop in Connecticut, where he is being held as a fugitive from justice.

7 class-action lawsuits filed in New York, California and Michigan
McDonalds 2

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — McDonald’s workers filed seven class-action lawsuits in New York, California and Michigan Thursday over wage theft violations.

The suits allege that McDonald’s has forced employees to work off the clock, not paid them overtime and struck hours off their time cards.

The suits were announced in a conference call led by the workers’ lawyers and organizers of the union-backed campaign to raise fast food wages across the country.

“We’ve uncovered several unlawful schemes, but they all share a common purpose — to drive labor costs down by stealing wages from McDonald’s workers,” said Michael Rubin of Altshuler Berzon LLP, an attorney who represents California workers.

Workers in California claim that McDonald’s and its franchisees did not pay them for all of the hours they worked, and did not give them timely breaks.

The employees in Michigan allege that they would start getting paid only when customers walked into the restaurants, even if they showed up to work hours earlier.

New York McDonald’s workers, who filed their case in federal court, claim the fast food chain did not reimburse them for the cost of cleaning uniforms. They say it drives some workers’ real wages below the minimum wage, which is a violation of federal labor law.

These claims violate the federal Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which sets minimum wage, overtime pay, record-keeping and other standards for workers across the country.

News of these cases come hours before President Obama is expected to ask the Labor Department to issue tougher rules on overtime. The move is expected to lead to extra pay for millions of workers who aren’t currently paid for extra work hours.

But wage theft at fast food chains has been an long standing issue. Last year, the New York State attorney general said he was investigating if fast food restaurant owners cheated their workers out of wages.

Since 1985, the Labor Department has found that McDonald’s and its franchises have had to pay back wages more than 300 times for FSLA violations.

McDonald’s said in a statement that it is currently reviewing the allegations in the lawsuits.

“McDonald’s and our independent franchisees are committed to undertaking a comprehensive investigation of the allegations and will take any necessary actions as they apply to our respective organizations.”

Fast food workers have been striking since November 2012, campaigning for McDonald’s and other chains to increase their minimum wages to $15 per hour and the right to form a union without retaliation.

The movement began with a small walkout in New York City and has since gathered momentum. Strikes this past December drew fast food workers in 100 cities, organizers said.

McDonald’s in particular came under fire for setting up a “McResource” helpline for its workers, which helped its employees navigate getting access to government programs like food stamps and heating assistance.

The burger chain also caught heat for for releasing a budget planning guide for its employees on the McResource site. The sample budget was criticized as being out of touch because it didn’t account for either food or gasoline, a big expense for low income workers.

The budget also left room for an income from a second job, which many called an admission by the fast food giant that its workers can’t live on wages from one job at McDonald’s.

The fast food chain has since taken the McResource site down.

The median pay for the fast food workers nationwide stands at just more than $9 an hour, or about $18,500 a year. That’s roughly $4,500 lower than Census Bureau’s poverty income threshold level of $23,000 for a family of four.

A report released in October by the University of California, Berkeley Labor Center and the University of Illinois found that more than half of families of fast food workers receive some form of public assistance. The report estimated that this aid carries a $7 billion annual price tag for taxpayers.

Town votes to suspend Lt. Thomas Foye without pay

LUDLOW, Mass. — A high-ranking Ludlow police officer charged with stealing drugs from the department’s evidence locker has been suspended without pay.

Lt. Thomas Foye had been suspended with pay since his arrest in August, but because he was indicted by a grand jury last week, the town’s Select Board voted unanimously Tuesday to suspend him without pay.

According to court documents, video surveillance captured the 49-year-old Foye entering the locked narcotics locker at the police station, where he appears to handle and open evidence bags. He is charged with tampering with evidence, theft of drugs from a dispensary and cocaine possession.

In a brief statement at Tuesday’s board meeting, the 25-year veteran thanked the board and said he “went into surgery a hero and came out a drug addict.”

Leslie’s Swimming Pool Supplies robbed at gunpoint

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Two thieves who struck a West Springfield business over the weekend weren’t looking for cash.

Police say one of the men pulled a gun on an employee as he and another man hauled away a $500 inflatable swimming pool.

Police say the suspects entered Leslie’s Swimming Pool Supplies at about 3:45 p.m. Sunday and began dragging the 15-foot pool away.

When a store worker asked if they needed help, one man pulled a gun and pointed it at her.

Both suspects were described as white, about 5-foot-6 inches tall with thin builds.

Three centuries-old paintings stolen in 1975

AMHERST, Mass. —Amherst College and the FBI are reopening the investigation into a theft from a campus art museum nearly 40 years ago.

Three centuries-old paintings valued at more than $400,000 were stolen from the college’s Mead Art Museum in February 1975.

Two of those paintings were recovered in 1989.

But the third, a piece by Dutch artist Jan Baptist Lambrechts entitled “Interior with Figures Smoking and Drinking,” that is believed to date from the early 18th century, was never found.

Heath Cummings, who’s been Mead’s head of security since 2006, has been reinvestigating the case and has turned over what he found to the FBI.

An FBI spokesman tells The Daily Hampshire Gazette that the agency is looking to generate publicity for the case beyond Massachusetts.

Official says wallet taken during church service 

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Two Manchester churches were targeted by thieves two weekends in a row this month.

During a service at Grace Episcopal Church on Feb. 2, a cellphone was taken from a coat and a wallet taken from a purse, police said. Several people gave a description of a suspect.

“The woman had come in in the middle of worship,” said the Rev. Marjorie Gerbracht-Stagnaro. “She had started looking at the prayer book, and the individual whose wallet she had taken was actually helping her get accustomed to the service.”

Gerbracht-Stagnaro said she believes she saw the woman later buying cigarettes at a nearby gas station.

“I got a call from my parishioner, and she said, ‘My card was just used,’ and I was able to finish the sentence. ‘I know. I witnessed the card being used,’” Gerbracht-Stagnaro said.

A week later across the street, St. Joseph’s Cathedral was hit. Police said someone tried to break into the safe where the parish offerings were kept.

“The damage that was done was really quite disappointing,” said Monsignor Anthony Frontiero. “We now have to repair the doors, the glass and windows.”

From witness reports, police said they believe a man cased the church the night before and took note of where the collections were stored.

In both cases, church officials said that if those people had reached out, they would have helped them.

“Obviously, these folks are so desperate that they would do something like this to a church or any business,” Frontiero said. “It’s a violation, and it’s heartbreaking.”

Police said they believe the crimes may be fueled by drugs. Investigators said they are following up on some leads.

By Benjamin Paulin, The Enterprise

April Haskins, 27, and Victoria Melendez, 21

Bridgewater Police

BRIDGEWATWER, Mass. —Two local women have been arrested and charged with robbing a Dunkin Donuts in Bridgewater two weeks ago, our news partners The Enterprise reported.

April Haskins, 27, of 354 Foundry St. in Easton and Victoria Melendez, 21, of 187 Manley St. in Brockton have both been charged with armed robbery after being arrested over the weekend.

Police say Haskins walked into the Dunkin Donuts at 750 Bedford Street in Bridgewater and showed a hand gun and demanded money, around 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 30. Police now believe the gun that was used was an “Air Soft” pellet gun, which was seized during Haskins’ arrest on Saturday.

Bridgewater Police Lt. Thomas Schlatz said officers executed a search warrant at Haskins’ home Saturday. Police found an “Air Soft” gun and clothes they believe she wore during the robbery, which were depicted on surveillance video.

Schlatz said Melendez is believed to have participated in the robbery and she was arrested Sunday.

The two are expected to be arraigned Monday at Brockton District Court.

John Silvia Jr. charged with stealing $300K

SOMERSET, Mass. — A Somerset man whose right to practice law has been revoked is facing federal charges stemming from allegations that he stole about $300,000 from two investors who were promised hefty profits within three months.

Massachusetts State Secretary William Galvin alleges that 55-year-old John Silvia Jr. spent the money on gifts to relatives, payment of life insurance premiums and Red Sox season tickets.

The U.S. District Attorney’s office says Silvia was arrested Friday and charged in a complaint with mail and wire fraud. Conviction carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

The complaint also named Richardson Consulting LLC and Fairway Realty LLC, which were two companies controlled by the suspect that were allegedly used to perpetrate the scam.

Silvia’s attorney was not listed in the federal case file.

‘Apple Picking’ targets Red Line riders, police say

BOSTON —The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority is warning its riders about a rash of thefts of electronic devices since the beginning of the year.

The thefts, called ‘Apple Picking’ by authorities, generally target iPhones and other Apple products, police said.

Red Line riders have seen the largest number of thefts – 15 of the 25 reported to transit police since Jan 1.

Watch NewsCenter 5′s report

MBTA riders are being warned to avoid using their smartphones and to conceal the devices and other electronic equipment and, in the case of Apple products, to change the color of their ear buds because “would-be thieves look for the distinctive white ear plugs of Apple.”

Most thefts occur near the train doors just as the train enters the station, police said.


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