Articles Posted in Theft Crimes

Apparently someone has been stealing from people in one of the least likeliest (and most heartless) of places – a cemetery.

According to police in Lawrence, Massachusetts, in at least two instances last week, women had their purses stolen from their cars, while they visited St. Mary’s Immaculate Conception Cemetery in Lawrence. In one instance, two sisters locked their doors of their car and placed their purses in the trunk. The thief was able to somehow open the trunk by going through the window. The two women lost their credit cards, glasses, cell phones, and hundreds of dollars.

As a Boston-Dedham robbery attorney, I’ve represented more than my fair share of clients who have been arrested on robbery charges and larceny by stealing charges. Larceny in Massachusetts is legally defined as when someone takes possession of property that belongs to another person, without their consent. In addition, the value of the property stolen, and the circumstances under which the property was stolen, determines the specific crime that is charged. In general, stolen property that is valued at less than $250 is typically classified as petty larceny, which is a Massachusetts misdemeanor. If, on the other hand, the stolen property is valued at more than $250, the offense, by law, is classified as grand larceny, which is a Massachusetts felony. Grand larceny is punishable by a sentence of up to five years in state prison, a maximum $25,000 fine or a county jail sentence of up to 2 ½ years.

Some professions are, understandably, difficult, stressful – and dangerous. Fire fighters, for example, should earn all of our respect for the daily dangers that they are exposed to. It should also come as no surprise to you that taxi drivers also have a dangerous job. They’re constantly in small, closed quarters with a wide variety of strangers, and there’s no telling where those circumstances could lead.

Two Boston robbery arrests this past weekend make my point all the more clear.

It was reported today in The Boston Globe that two men named Shawn Hickey and Brian Cunneen were in a Boston cab this past Sunday night, in Charlestown. According to the Globe Hickey allegedly pointed a gun at the taxi driver and demanded his money. At that point, all three men reportedly got out of the cab and had an altercation. During the melee, Hickey allegedly shot the driver twice with a pellet gun. According to Boston Police, he then got into the taxi’s driver’s seat, carjacked the cab, drove down Devens Street, and crashed into two parked cars before he fled on foot. After a lengthy pursuit, police caught the two men. They were charged in Charlestown District Court with Boston carjacking, Boston robbery, and I’m assuming, Boston assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

This story just goes to show you that you need to be extra careful with the company credit card.

A Watertown man was recently charged in federal court in Boston, with allegedly misusing the company credit card. John J. Palandjian is accused of allegedly making unauthorized purchases and taking out cash advances of about $1.1 Million from his former employer, Iron Mountain Inc., a Boston company that helps corporate customers manage their business records. Reportedly, Mr. Palandjian had worked at Iron Mountain as a sourcing manager.

After the alleged Massachusetts embezzlement, Mr. Palandjian is accused of taking measures to hide the charges, yet ensure that his bills were paid. For this alleged Massachusetts theft crime, Mr. Palandjian was charged with 10 counts of wire fraud, which is a federal offense. If he is convicted of all counts, he could face a $250,000 fine, a forfeiture of all of the money he allegedly embezzled, and up to 20 years in prison. These are the penalties for this crime that apply in federal court, which is not the same as a Massachusetts state court.

This past week, a man allegedly jumped into a car, in Randolph, that did not belong to him. The car’s owner apparently visited a laundromat, parked outside, and left the keys in the vehicle. The suspect, after getting into the car with the left-behind keys in it, drove north on Route 28, where he was spotted by police officers in Randolph. The police officers tried to box in the stolen vehicle, but the driver sped away. The chase led to Milton. Suddenly, while being chased by police, the suspect crashed into a tree in Milton, so violently, that the stolen car was almost sliced in two.

The man had to be extricated from the car by the Jaws of Life. He was taken from the wreckage to Boston Medical Center.

As a Boston-area motor vehicle theft defense attorney, I can tell you this: Sentencing for larceny of a Massachusetts motor vehicle ranges from a maximum of 15 years in state prison, a maximum of 2 ½ years in a county jail, a fine of up to $15,000, or both a prison sentence and a fine. They are very severe punishments.

Unlike what many people think, Massachusetts theft and larceny charges can occur in the most unlikely places – including charities. That unfortunate fact was illustrated yesterday, when the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office announced that charges had been brought against a former treasurer of a Veteran of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post in Lynn.

George Robertson, 65, was indicted on Thursday after legal authorities alleged that he stole over $300,000 from the organization, VFW Post 507 in Lynn, which is now-defunct. Lynn Police and the Attorney General’s office alleged that Robertson transferred funds from bank accounts held by the VFW Post to a personal account he held at a Stoneham bank. Authorities allege that he transferred the funds between September 2010 and May 2011, when supposedly the charitable organization was financially struggling, and had sold its property in an effort to prevent bankruptcy.

Allegations like this, if true, would bring a variety of Massachusetts theft crimes charges, including embezzlement and larceny by stealing. According to a statement issued by Attorney General Martha Coakley, “We allege that this defendant abused his position as the treasurer of the Lynn VFW to steal from the organization, whose mission is to serve our veterans, and then used the money for personal expenses.” Prosecutors allege that VFW had agreed in December 2009 to sell its property in Lynn to a charter school for $1.35 million. Shortly following that sale, the manager at the Stoneham bank where Robertson reportedly held a personal account, allegedly noticed that VFW checks were being deposited into Robertson’s account at that bank. Authorities say that when the bank manager asked Robertson about this, he supplied the bank with a letter from VFW, authorizing the transfer of VFW funds into Robertson’s personal account to pay his bills. Prosecutors claim the VFW had never approved those deposits. According to reports, Robertson was not arrested but will be summonsed to be arraigned in Middlesex Superior Court on four charges of larceny and one count of falsely using the name of a benevolent organization.