Articles Posted in Breaking and Entering

In a rather interesting news report in the Cape Cod Times, a young man is accused of breaking into a home located in Martha’s Vineyard where he allegedly painted the resident’s dog with purple paint and stole some items from the home. The accused man stands charged with more than a half dozen crimes, including breaking and entering with the intent to commit a felony, cruelty to animals, and possession of several controlled substances.


Breaking and Entering

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Paul Lentini, a 30-year-old Boston man, was arrested in Framingham on April 24 after an alleged breaking and entering. Police claim that Lentini forced his way into a back door of a home and later jumped out of a second-floor window to escape. The defendant allegedly knocked on the front door before entering the home through the back. A 16-year-old girl was inside and called the police and her mother. The defendant was allegedly trying to take jewelry from a second-floor bedroom when police and the girl’s mother’s boyfriend arrived on the scene. He allegedly jumped out of the bedroom window into bushes, at which point the mother’s boyfriend tackled him.

Lentini was arraigned Thursday April 25 in Framingham District Court. He is charged with breaking and entering during the daytime, receiving stolen property under $250 and possession of burglarious instruments. His next court date is May 24. Breaking and entering in the daytime is a statutory modification to the common law of burglary. Before the statutory modifications, an element was that the breaking and entering of a dwelling house take place in the nighttime. Even under the current expanded law, an entering in the daytime without a breaking is only a trespass. However, opening an unlocked door or window still counts as a “breaking.” Other statutory modifications expanded the common law of burglary to punish: breaking and entering into any building or vehicle at night to commit a felony; breaking and entering into any building or vehicle at any time to commit a misdemeanor; entering without breaking any building at night with the intent to commit a felony.

Here, it is unclear how anyone came to know that the defendant was trying to take jewelry from the bedroom. A breaking and entering conviction requires proof that a defendant had the intent to commit a felony. While movement of jewelry may be suggestive of an intent to steal, there is no indication in these news reports that anyone saw the defendant moving jewelry or that the defendant was found in possession of jewelry or any other item that could be the target of theft. When a breaking and entering takes place in the nighttime, the intent to steal may be presumed. That is not so in cases involving breaking and entering in the day. The basis for charging this defendant with receiving stolen property and possession of burglarious tools is also unclear from these facts. Sometimes, the government claims that innocent items are “burglarious instruments.” Where a tool has an innocent purpose, it can be difficult for the government to prove burglarious intent or knowledge that the tool was designed for a burglarious purpose.

Apparently, everyone did not get the memo that said that this is the season for giving, not stealing. The Lawrence Eagle Tribune reported that hundreds of toys that were earmarked for the “needy”, food and gift cards and computers were among items stolen from an Essex Street building in Lawrence Massachusetts last week. The building was the office location for a computer company, a recording studio and a school for chaplains. The stolen items included eighteen gold plated badges that were to be awarded to students at an upcoming Chaplaincy graduation.

If stealing were not enough to dampen the holiday season, the culprits left water faucets running causing overflow and additional damage to the building. Tenants who went to the recording studio during the early morning hours noticed dripping water from the ceiling. Investigation revealed that the building had been broken into and ransacked.

When the perpetrators are caught they may face a number of charges including breaking and entering a building in the nighttime with intent to commit a felony, malicious destruction of property over $250.00 and larceny over $250.00. If a person is convicted for breaking and entering in the nighttime with intent to commit a felony he or she faces the possibility of serving twenty years in state prison or two and one half years in jail.

In order to prove breaking and entering the Commonwealth must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant broke and entered into a building in the nighttime with intent to commit a felony. In Massachusetts the breaking and entering are considered two distinct acts. Areas that are often litigated in these types of cases are whether the defendant actually broke into the building and/or whether he or she actually entered the premises. For example, the opening of a window or door, which was partly open, further than it was before in a manner in which was intended to be used is not considered a breaking. However, going through and open window that is not intended for use as an entrance is considered a breaking.

Although the facts of this case are not all known, in the event that anyone is arrested a viable defense may be that the individual was misidentified. As in many cases when a defendant is not arrested at the scene, an experienced Massachusetts defense lawyer must examine the circumstances under which a witness identified the defendant. The lighting, the opportunity for a witness to observe the defendant and whether the identifying witness was familiar with the defendant are a few area that must be explored.

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An undercover sting operation to catch a Lawrence man allegedly breaking into neighborhood cars paid off. According to The Lawrence Eagle Tribune, police officers went undercover to catch the person breaking into the vehicles. A citizen reported that a man was loitering in the area of Methuen Street in Lawrence. The police responded and saw twenty-five year old Jose Rivera walking away from a parked car with its alarm sounding. The officer, who was in an unmarked cruiser, saw that a nearby car had its window broken and Rivera had screwdrivers in his pocket and a GPS base and charge chord in his pants. Rivera was arrested and charged with breaking and entering a vehicle in the daytime with intent to commit a felony, larceny over $250.00, possession of burglarious tools and malicious destruction of property over $250.00.

In Massachusetts, if you are charged with any type of theft crime it is important to have an experienced defense attorney on your side. In order for the prosecution to secure a conviction, they must prove all of the elements of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. It is important that your Massachusetts trial attorney knows the law and all of the elements of the crime with which you are charged.

For example, in order for the prosecution to secure a conviction for possession of burglarious instruments in violation of G.L.c. 266, § 49,the Commonwealth must prove that the defendant possessed “an engine, machine, tool or implement adapted and designed for cutting through, forcing or breaking open a building, room, vault, safe or other depository, in order to steal there from money or other property, or to commit any other crime, knowing the same to be adapted and designed for the purpose aforesaid, with intent to use or employ or allow the same to be used or employed for such purpose . . .”

In Massachusetts, many defendants are charged with possession of burglarious tools simply because they are found with pliers, wrenches and other tools in their possession. However, mere possession of these objects, even at what is believed to have been a crime scene, is not sufficient to prove that the items were “burglarious.” The trial judge must instruct and the Commonwealth must prove that the defendant possessed the item or tool with the intent to use it to break into a vehicle or residence. Mere possession of a tool is not enough for a conviction. The Commonwealth must also prove that the defendant had the specific intent to use the tool to enter the car or residence.

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There was not a dry eye in the audience when a Norfolk County Jury convicted Ryan Bois for the death of a six year old Weymouth girl. According to the Boston Globe, in a courtroom filled with emotion, Judge Janet Sanders told a packed courtroom that this was the “worst she has seen in her fourteen years a a judge” before she imposed four life term sentences. Bois was convicted for the rape, murder and kidnapping of his six year old cousin, Joanna Mullin. According to news reports, the trial lasted six days and the jury deliberated for 8 hours before convicting Bois of first-degree murder, two counts of rape, home invasion, kidnapping, larceny of a motor vehicle, larceny under $250, malicious destruction of property under $250, failure to stop for a police officer and negligent operation of a motor vehicle.

During the trial the defense maintained that Bois, 22 years old, was not guilty by reason of insanity. According to the Boston Globe, the Norfolk County prosecutor countered claiming that Bois’s action were calculated when he raped his young cousin, wrapped her body in bed sheets and a quilt, stole keys to his grandmother’s sport utility vehicle, and put the body in the back seat. The prosecutor presented evidence indicating that after committing this horrific crime, Bois called an acquaintance to get some drugs and during this conversation asked the acquaintance how to dispose of a body.

Understandably unable to listen to the details that led up to their daughter’s death Mullins parents stayed away during the trial. However, many relatives and friends attended the trial at the Norfolk Superior Court located in Dedham, Massachusetts. After the jury returned the guilty verdict the prosecutor read the victim impact statement that Joanna’s parents prepared.