Police log, March 3-8, 2023: Man trying to buy collectible putters gets shaft

Excerpts from the Marblehead police log of Friday, March 3 through Wednesday, March 8, 2023. Consistent with state law, Marblehead Police have adopted a policy of not providing to media outlets reports related to incidents related to domestic violence, juveniles and matters that remain under investigation.

Friday, March 3

9:26 a.m. An officer spoke by phone with a man who explained that he had recently found out someone had applied for unemployment in his name. The man had already contacted the thre credit agencies. He was advised to let the police know if he had any other issues.

9:38 a.m. An officer gave a driver a verbal warning for failing to clear his vehicle’s window on Treat Road.

9:56 a.m. A report of a wire on the ground on Washington Street was referred to another agency.

11:28 a.m. An officer spoke by phone with a man who reported an attempted financial scam in which he had been called by a man purporting to be a representative of National Grid Electric who attempted to use an alleged overdue bill as a ruse. The resident told police that he had answered the phone in Spanish, and the alleged scammer had started the conversation in Spanish before requesting that the conversation be in English. The resident knew that the town has a municipal electric utility and that the call was a scam. The Light Department subsequently put out a message via social media to warn residents about the scam, complementing similar efforts by the Police Department.

1:03 p.m. A speeding car was reported on Oak Street.

6:11 p.m. Officers investigated a 911 hang-up call from Humphrey Street and filed a report.

Saturday, March 4

2:21 a.m. An officer investigated a report of a suspicious vehicle with its engine running on Stevens Road and Gallison Avenue.

8:38 a.m. A Liberty Lane resident reported a power outage.

11:35 a.m. A High Street resident reported an attempted grandparent scam.

12:24 p.m. An officer spoke with a contractor about a civil dispute he was having with a man he had hired to clean out a house in Boston and bring the trash to the dump. The man had apparently thrown out a car seat and stroller that he was told not to, and the contractor was withholding $250 until the other man replaced the two items. The man told the contractor that he would go to the customer’s house in Boston and get the money from the customer. The contractor requested that the officer call the man and tell him to not go to the customer’s house to collect the money because the customer had already paid the contractor to do the job. The officer advised the contractor how to handle the dispute civilly and also told the contractor to advise his customer if the man requested money from the customer to not pay him and to call Boston Police if necessary.

2:42 p.m. An officer spoke with the owner of a local boutique who had discovered that a $398 sweater from a display rack next to the dressing room was missing and had apparently been stolen. While reviewing security video, the store owner then also saw a woman known to both her and the officer slip a pair of $85 earrings into her winter gloves and leave the store without paying for them. The woman was later interviewed at the police station, and she acknowledged being in the store on the day in question, but she was adamant about not having left the store with any merchandise without paying for it. She said she had been interested in a cowboy hat and a pair of earrings but had to leave the store due to medical reasons and planned to return another day to buy them. The officer told the woman that he planned to review the security footage to confirm her statement and advised the woman to stay away from the store, as the owner did not want her to return but rather to bring the merchandise to the police station if she located it. The officer then went to the store and spoke with an employee. While he was there, as the employee was looking at the rack from which the sweater was believed to have been taken, a sweater like the one that had been reported missing fell to the floor. Around the same time, the woman involved in the disappearance of the earrings came into the store — despite having been told to stay away — walked in and returned the earrings, apologizing for having inadvertently walked out with them. Apprised of these developments, the store owner expressed shock that she had overlooked the sweater and said she was satisfied that the earrings had been returned and did not want to pursue shoplifting charges. She was advised of the process of serving the woman who had taken the earrings with a no-trespass order, if that was something she wanted to do. 

3:47 p.m. An officer investigated the report of the theft of a vehicle on Sevinor Road and filed a report.

Sunday, March 5

1:46 p.m. A purse was found on Turner Road.

4:11 p.m. An officer investigated a past hit-and-run reported on Pleasant Street and filed a report.

11:01 p.m. An officer investigated a general complaint on West Shore Drive and filed a report.

Monday, March 6

8:36 a.m. An officer spoke with a woman who had received an email the night before from the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment, which requested that she verify her email address in order to claim unemployment. Confused as to why she received this email, she attempted to make contact with the unemployment office but had been unable to speak with a representative. The woman was concerned someone had attempted to use her identity to claim unemployment. She was advised to contact one of the three major credit bureaus and also report the incident at identitytheft.gov. She was also advised to make her employer aware of the situation.

9:03 a.m. An officer investigated a report of threats made by a terminated employee on Tower Way and filed a report.

10:33 a.m. A building was checked and secured after an open door was reported on Allerton Place.

10:58 a.m. An officer spoke with a couple who had received a phone call from a Realtor who had in turn received a call from a man purporting to be the male half of the couple, who said he wanted to put on the market a property in St. Augustine, Florida — where the couple did, in fact, own real estate — on the market. Interested in serving as the broker for the sale, the Realtor had communicated with the impostor by text and email, toured the property and even put a for-sale sign on the land, though the property was not officially listed on the market. The ruse fell apart when the Realtor asked the impostor for identification, and he failed to produce any. The Realtor had then tracked down the real property owners in Massachusetts and apprised them of the situation. The couple had tried to report the incident to the local police department, but they were told police would not take a report over the telephone and that it needed to be in person. The officer advised them to reach out to the police department once again to see if the report could be taken over Zoom. If that failed, the officer also suggested they call the county sheriff’s department to see if they could offer any assistance. In addition, the officer told them to have the Realtor go to the local police department to report the incident, given that she lives in Florida.

12:08 p.m. Glasses were found on School Street.

1:22 p.m. An officer assisted at the scene of a vehicle accident on Widger Road.

1:23 p.m. Officers investigated a disturbance on Wyman Road and filed a report.

1:47 p.m. A detective investigated a report that “man is not blind” on Humphrey Street and Broughton Road.

3:20 p.m. An officer assisted with a disabled vehicle on Atlantic and Clifton avenues.

3:59 p.m. An officer investigated the report of an assault on Pleasant Street and filed a report.

4:26 p.m. An officer spoke in the police station lobby with a woman who had been the apparent victim of unemployment fraud. The woman explained that she had received a notice of unemployment benefits in the mail that she had not applied for. The woman said that she is currently employed by a credit-card company and that any unemployment applied for on her behalf is fraudulent.

9:05 p.m. An officer was dispatched to Washington Street to investigate the latest incident in a long-running landlord-tenant dispute. When he arrived, the tenant explained that her landlord, who lives in the first-floor apartment, kept locking her out of her residence, as she had never been given a key to the front door of the apartment complex. The tenant then led the officer to the front door of the apartment complex, so he could take the report in her second-floor apartment. In the 15 seconds or so it took for the tenant to greet the officer and turn around to head upstairs, the landlord had yet again locked the tenant out of the apartment complex. The officer knocked on the apartment complex door and, after approximately a minute, the landlord came to the door and opened it up. The officer asked the landlord why she kept locking her

tenant out. The landlord stated that she had given the tenant a key when she first moved in, which the tenant disputed. The officer asked the landlord if she could get the tenant a copy of the first-floor key as it is the only way the tenant can get into the apartment complex. The landlord stated that the tenant would have to pay for it herself and that she would

have to go through her lawyer if she wants another key. The officer asked the landlord why she continued to lock the tenant out of the apartment. The landlord stated that she does it for security reasons and does not like the door to be left unlocked. The officer made his way upstairs with the tenant, and she informed the officer that her lawyer had informed the landlord that she would be moving out on May 31. The tenant stated that this was the fifth incident where the landlord had purposely locked her out of the apartment complex seconds after she had exited the building. At approximately 9:20 a.m. the same day, the landlord had locked the tenant out, and she had to call the Fire Department to help her get into the apartment complex. The tenant also stated that the landlord purposely unscrews the lightbulb next to her second-floor apartment door so that the tenant cannot see at night when she returns home, creating a dangerous tripping hazard. Because of the landlord’s harassment, the tenant had installed a chain lock on her front door to prevent the landlord from gaining access to her apartment. The tenant had also installed security cameras inside her apartment in case the landlord tried to enter the apartment when the tenant was not home. The officer advised the tenant of the process to obtain a harassment prevention order, which she stated that she would consider getting one.

Tuesday, March 7

1:54 p.m. A missing wedding ring was reported on Pleasant Street.

3:49 p.m. An officer spoke in the police station lobby with a man who reported that on Feb. 15 he had arranged to purchase high-end golf memorabilia from a man through Facebook Marketplace. The man reported that he negotiated a deal for a package of 3 rare hard to find Scotty Cameron collectible putters for $7,530. The man reported that he had paid for this deal via CashApp over several transactions due to a spending limit on the app. Despite receiving the funds, the seller had failed to ship out the products and instead made excuses, saying that everything was packaged and ready to go without actually shipping the products. Over the course of the next several weeks, the resident had sent emails, texts and certified mail to the seller at his home and his business. The seller would sign for the letters but would not respond. After posting about this incident in a Facebook group, the resident learned that the same seller had allegedly scammed several other people using the same items, obtaining over $50,000. The resident left the officer with a written statement and several other documents proving his payment, documentation of his conversation with the seller and a report he had made online to the FBI. The man also reported that while doing a public records search for the seller, he had discovered several other lawsuits and liens against the seller, his home and business from other scams in the past. The officer planned to share the information with detectives to see if there was any follow-up they could do, but the officer advised the resident that action may need to come from a federal level due to the perpetrator being out of the Marblehead Police’s jurisdiction.

6:23 p.m. An officer assisted a Peach Highlands resident and filed a report.

6:38 p.m. An officer was sent to Pleasant Street to retrieve items and filed a report.

9:35 p.m. Officers investigated a report of suspicious activity on Crestwood Road.

9:58 p.m. Two officers were dispatched to Waterside Road for a report of suspicious activity. The owner of a Waterside Road home reported there was someone in the house across the street with a flashlight. When officers arrived at the house, they were met by the homeowner who reported there had been three people in his front yard who had just run down Ramsey Road towards the Coffin School. He had tried to follow them but lost track of them. The man reported that it was very suspicious that the three people were in his front yard. He said he could only tell that it was three short people, all wearing dark clothing. The information was radioed to all officers on duty. The two responding officers cleared the house and began searching for these people with the help of two other officers who arrived to assist. While in the area, an officer spoke with another Waterside Road resident who reported suspicious activity and someone ringing their doorbell.

Wednesday, March 8

9:18 a.m. An issue related to a “big trash can” was reported on Gallison Avenue.

10:23 a.m. An officer assisted a person on West Shore Drive and filed a report.

12:03 p.m. An officer met at the station with a woman who explained to me that she had been at the Marblehead Post Office when she was approached and threatened by a woman known to her from prior incidents. The woman simply wanted the incident documented.

2:15 p.m. An officer investigated a report of a past crash on School Street.

2:42 p.m. An officer investigated the report of a vehicle crash on Atlantic Avenue.

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