Police log: Alleged golden ‘codnappings’ return, emotional outburst over deceased lizard draws attention

Excerpts from the Marblehead police log of Monday, Aug. 21, through Sunday, Aug. 27. Consistent with state law, Marblehead Police Department has adopted a policy of not providing to media outlets reports related to incidents related to domestic violence, juveniles and matters that remain under investigation.

Aug. 21

11:58 a.m. — Officer Charles Sweeney spoke with a Marblehead resident who came into the police station lobby to report an alleged theft of a large, custom-made golden cod lawn decoration, valued at approximately $600, from the side yard of their home on Turner Road sometime between Aug. 15 and Aug. 20. The resident said their home did not have any security cameras installed on the side of the house where the life-size, hand-painted cod decoration was removed. Sweeney noted that police had received one other recent report of a similar golden cod yard decoration being stolen from a home in the same neighborhood. He said investigators planned to canvas nearby homes to ask residents if their security cameras captured any footage of the cod theft on Turner Road.

10:43 a.m. to 12:38 p.m. — Officer Luke Peters was approached by a Marblehead resident who came to the police station with civil court documents granting them permission to legally evict a tenant living at their rental property. After reviewing the paperwork and consulting with supervising Lt. Jonathan Lunt and Police Chief Dennis King, Peters informed the resident that eviction notices and court orders are typically served by sheriff’s deputies or constables’ officers, rather than local police officers. He advised the resident to contact either the Essex County Sheriff’s Department or a licensed constable to arrange proper service of the eviction notice and court order. Peters told the resident that Marblehead Police would assist if the tenant refused to vacate after being properly served with the court-ordered eviction notices.

5:58 p.m. — Officer Andrew DiMare pulled over a Maine resident after observing him actively talking on a cellphone while driving along Humphrey Street. When approached, the driver admitted he did not have his license or registration in his possession. A database check showed that while the SUV was properly registered in Maine, the registration had expired. With approval from his supervisor, DiMare arranged to have the unregistered vehicle towed from the public way. The driver said he was talking to his girlfriend about an issue with her son when he was stopped.

7:07 p.m. — Officer Michael Farewell and Lt. Michael Everett pursued a yellow Penske rental moving truck that had allegedly struck a streetlight pole at the intersection of State and Front streets before speeding away from the scene. Multiple witnesses called police to report the collision and provide a description of the truck and occupants. The officers caught up with the Penske truck just blocks away from the police station as it drove down Atlantic Avenue. The truck finally pulled over at 11 Gilbert Heights Rd. after officers activated emergency lights and sirens. When questioned, the driver claimed he had swerved to avoid an oncoming car and was not sure whether he had actually hit anything. Farewell took photographs documenting damage to the Penske truck’s front bumper while Everett went to photograph the damaged street light. A witness told police she had seen the truck hit the pole and followed it until officers took over the pursuit.

7:38 p.m. — Officer Jason McDonald spoke with a Marblehead resident who came to the police station lobby to report having lost their social security card somewhere within their home. The individual also voiced concerns over having a digital photograph of the social security card stored on a personal home computer that had recently been hacked, possibly exposing the social security number. McDonald advised the resident to promptly contact the Social Security Administration and report the missing card, so the federal agency could monitor for any suspicious activity.

Aug. 22

1:28 a.m. — Officers Luc Marcus and Nicholas Fratini responded to a triggered burglary alarm at an active construction site at the Marblehead Village School. As they pulled up, the officers saw two unidentified young men wearing shorts and T-shirts running away from the site toward neighboring Robinson Farm. The individuals escaped. Further investigation revealed an old broken window near door 19 that a school representative said may have been damaged accidentally by a lawn mower throwing a rock. The school official said nothing appeared to be stolen or disturbed.

8:23 a.m. — Officer Nicholas Michaud met with a resident who came to the police station lobby to report receiving an alleged fraudulent email demanding they purchase $1,000 in eBay gift cards. The resident said the email appeared to come from their employer and mimicked the boss’s writing style. But when they called their employer to verify, they confirmed the message was a scam. The resident had become suspicious while at the store attempting to buy the gift cards and realized it was a scam before providing any funds.

4:13 p.m. — Officer Andrew DiMare took an identity theft report from a woman who came to the police station lobby to report receiving an alarming phone call from Target’s fraud department. The caller informed the woman that someone had just applied for a Target credit card using her personal information, including social security number and date of birth. However, the phone number listed on the application did not belong to the victim. DiMare advised the woman to place fraud alerts on her credit files and monitor her accounts closely for any suspicious activity.

3:45 p.m. — Officer Robert Picariello assisted a resident who came to the police station to report being the victim of a Facebook hacking scam. The individual said they clicked on a link sent to them by a friend via Facebook Messenger, which allowed a scammer to gain access to their Facebook account profile. The hacker changed the account password and personal information, locking the victim out of their own Facebook page. The scammer then used the compromised account to send fraudulent messages to the victim’s Facebook friends list attempting to scam them as well. No friends fell for the ploy, as the victim warned everyone about the hacking.

Aug. 24

10 a.m. — Officer Adam Mastrangelo took an incident report from an elderly resident who came to the police station to report being defrauded after falling for an online scam. The individual said they received a text message purportedly coming from the priest at their church asking for help purchasing gift cards for a church fundraiser. Believing the pleas for help were legitimate, the resident purchased $400 worth of Applebee’s gift cards and $500 in Amazon gift cards, then provided the gift card numbers to the scammer. After realizing it was a scam, the resident immediately contacted police to document the fraud.

Aug. 25

1:58 p.m. — Officers Luke Peters and Dennis DeFelice responded to a third-party report of a possible domestic disturbance at an apartment on Washington Street.Upon contacting a male resident at the home, officers were told that the man’s girlfriend had become extremely distraught after discovering her pet lizard deceased. The officers spoke with the girlfriend and offered their condolences on the loss of her pet lizard, which had been a gift from her daughter. Both residents assured police there had been no domestic argument, just an emotional reaction to the sudden death of the pet.

5:47 p.m. – Officer Jason McDonald observed a Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority bus run a red light at the busy intersection of Maple and Tedesco streets. McDonald pursued the bus with emergency lights and sirens as it continued for several blocks before finally pulling over. The MBTA driver argued that buses are allowed to drive through red lights after coming to a full stop and checking that it is clear. He eventually provided his license upon threat of arrest and was issued a citation for failure to obey a traffic signal. The driver said he would challenge the ticket and bring bus video footage to court.

Aug. 27

7:18 a.m. — Officer Michael Farewell followed up on a previously filed report regarding a lost iPhone. He spoke with the female resident who had reported losing her iPhone early that morning. Using the Find My iPhone app, the woman tracked the device to a location in Swampscott before the signal was lost. Farewell advised her to go to the Swampscott Police Department and have officers attempt to recover it.

1:31 p.m. — Officers Luc Marcus, Eric Osattin and Douglas Mills responded to a well-being check on an allegedly intoxicated man stumbling down the street with an open alcoholic beverage container. They determined the man had an open container of rose wine but did not appear to be an imminent safety risk. However, because public drinking violates local ordinances, officers confiscated the wine and advised the man he would face criminal charges if caught publicly intoxicated again.

1:59 p.m. — Officer Luke Peters took a supplemental larceny report from a woman who said her roommate continued stealing valuable items from their shared residence. The woman told Peters she had filed an initial report back on July 3 about her 53-year-old male roommate stealing jewelry, cash and prescription pills. Despite ongoing suspicions, she has not forced him to move out because he pays $800 per month in rent. However, she reported coming home to find several new items missing from the dining room, including Swarovski crystal figurines worth an estimated $3,000 and four antique Hummel figurines of undetermined value. Although lacking proof, she suspects the continuing thefts are being committed by the same roommate.

9:30 a.m. — Officer Luke Peters responded to a call about possible discarded medical waste found outside a downtown home. A 65-year-old woman reported finding a used medical catheter collection bag and rubber gloves left on the sidewalk, which concerned her because of the potential biohazard posed by exposed needles or bodily fluids. Peters collected the items and confirmed there were no actual sharps or biohazards present before photographing the materials and entering them into evidence storage for proper disposal.

5:40 p.m. — Officer Andrew DiMare stopped a vehicle for running a red light after observing the infraction while on patrol near the intersection of Ocean Avenue and Pleasant Street. Upon contacting the male driver, later identified as a Pennsylvania resident, DiMare requested his license and registration. The driver provided a Pennsylvania state ID rather than a valid driver’s license. Further investigation found the man had an active license in Pennsylvania but also had numerous suspensions in both states. With supervisor approval, DiMare arranged to have the unlicensed driver’s vehicle towed from the scene. Assisting Officer Michael Farewell helped inventory the vehicle and process the driver.

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