Articles Posted in Carjacking

A twenty year old man claiming to be homeless was arrested yesterday after a routine Motor Vehicle stop. According to the Wayland Patch, on officer conducted a stop on Route 20 and recognized the passenger as someone pictured in a “Wanted Poster”. The man was sought for an alleged Carjacking having occurred last Wednesday. Apparently, on October 24, 2012 Wayland, Massachusetts police received a call from a victim stating that the defendant and another got into his vehicle and tried to Carjack him. The victim resisted the assailants attack and was able to identify the older subject right away. The second suspect remains at large. He is said to be mid to late teens. The defendant has seven warrants. Some are out of the Concord District Court and the others in the Framingham District Court. Charges on this case include Carjacking, Assault and Battery by Means of a Dangerous Weapon, Conspiracy and Attempt to Commit a Crime.

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Framingham, Massachusetts Violent Crimes Defense Law Firm

Concord, Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorney

The crime of Carjacking in Massachusetts is a felony proscribed by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265 Section 21A. The district attorney prosecuting the case must prove two elements beyond a reasonable doubt to prove that crime. The first is that the accused had the intention to steal the vehicle. The second is that the defendant either assaulted or confined or maimed or put in fear the victim for the purpose of stealing the vehicle. This crime is often difficult to prove. As such, prosecutors will charge related crimes such as Assault and Battery when filing the complaint or indictment for Carjacking. Carjacking is usually a random crime where the defendant and victim do not know one another. It is difficult to understand the relationship, if any between the accused and the vehicle owner in this case based on this article alone. It does appear however that the police had a pretty good idea who might have been involved once they received the report. Showing photographs of suspects to victims typically assumes a suspicion on the part of law enforcement officials that at least one of the individuals shown in the array was involved in the crime. This is particularly true in the suburbs where the pool of people involved in criminal activity is somewhat small. In the absence of the victim’s ability to make an independent identification of the defendant, there might be some challenges to the identification process that result in a dismissal of the Carjacking charge. Any suggestion by the police that the defendant was the person responsible for the crime taints the identification making suppression a viable matter. An Experienced Massachusetts Criminal Attorney will take this into account when preparing a defense.

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carjacking2.jpgThe Brockton Enterprise reports that Brandon Cain and Alberto Velasquez both from Brockton, Massachusetts have been indicted for Carjacking and Armed Robbery While Masked. The charges follow an incident alleged to have occurred this past August. The victims reported that they were meeting with a friend whom they owed five hundred dollars. On August 23, 2011 at approximately 1:00 p.m. the two arrived at the meeting place. Two men then approached their car brandishing firearms. One of the men fired. The victims were ordered out of their car. The defendants fled making off with about one thousand two hundred dollars. One of the victims reported that Velasquez wore a mask over the lower half of his face. The police found the car abandoned and then found the defendants in the woods. In the vicinity of the defendants the police found a .22 caliber rifle and a black BB gun. Charges of ammunition possession and firearm possession were filed against Velasquez in addition to the Armed Robbery and Carjacking indictments. The case will be prosecuted in the Plymouth Superior Court.

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Brockton Carjacking and Armed Robbery Lawyers

When evaluating potential defenses to a case Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyers often look at the facts and ask a simple question. What is wrong with the picture? In this case it is a little strange that the victims would be sitting in a car to pay a debt rather than simply going up to the door of the creditor and making their payment. Keep in mind it is reported that the creditor is a friend. Why then wait in the car? Next, this occurred in the daytime in a densely populated middle class residential neighborhood. There is no mention of witnesses seeing a masked man walking up to a parked car. There is no mention of any witnesses hearing a gunshot. There is no mention of anyone seeing someone carrying a .22 rifle as the report states. Don’t you think that someone would have seen this? Finally, why would the defendants be “hiding” in a wooded area near the location of the abandoned car? This makes absolutely no sense. Oftentimes in cases like this it turns out that the “victim” knows the defendant and the actual facts are nowhere near as egregious as initially reported. Sometimes these types of accusations arise from disputes over ownership of the vehicle, arguments over debts or drug deals gone bad. I would expect much more than was initially reported is behind these accusations.

Carjacking in Massachusetts is proscribed by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265 Section 21A. The law states anyone who steals a car by putting someone in fear is guilty of carjacking. The attempt does not have to be successful to satisfy the elements of the crime. Both the Massachusetts Superior Courts and the Massachusetts District Courts have jurisdiction over this crime. Nevertheless, Carjacking in Massachusetts is a felony. There is an additional aspect of this law that is pertinent to this case. If the accused uses a rifle a conviction mandates a five year state prison sentence. The district courts do not have jurisdiction over this portion of the statute. The armed robbery statute has similar language. There is a five year mandatory minimum for the masked portion of the offense as well as the use of the firearm in connection with the commission of the crime.

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The Lynn Item reports that Todd Ciepiela of Peabody, Massachusetts has been indicted by an Essex County Grand Jury for Carjacking stemming from a September incident. In the morning hours of September 26th a fifty six year old woman went to a local 7-11 store. As she went to get into her car she was grabbed and forcibly pulled away from her vehicle by Ciepiela who also grabbed her keys. The woman was also thrown to the ground. Fortunately she suffered no injuries. Several days later the defendant was arrested in Revere, Massachusetts. Ciepiela has been charged with Unarmed Robbery and Carjacking. The case will be prosecuted in the Essex County Superior Court in Salem.

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Essex Superior Court Criminal Defense Lawyers


Often times when someone is arrested for a crime like this days after its occurrence the primary issue at trial becomes one of identification. These crimes occur quickly and victims are not always able to make positive identifications of their assailants. Additionally, people who steal cars in this manner do so with the intention of obtaining objects of value such as pocketbooks, wallets or other items left in consoles or glove compartments. Sometimes the vehicle is stripped and parts or components are sold. It is rare that the individual will continue to drive the vehicle for an extended period of time as the district attorney claims Ciepiela did. Many cases are won by challenging the integrity of identifications.

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Authorities allege that Michael Fitzpatrick of Malden assaulted an Arlington woman at gunpoint in the Dock Square garage yesterday at 1:00 in the afternoon and took off in her SUV. Apparently this incident was witnessed by two other women who sheltered the victim and got her out of the garage. Fitzpatrick made his escape from the garage by driving through the gate. He later drove into a taxi cab fleeing that scene as well. Fitzpatrick got into another accident in the North End and was apprehended shortly thereafter. A loaded firearm was recovered at the scene and Fitzpatrick was positively identified by the first victim. At arraignment it was learned that the defendant had been drinking a half gallon of vodka per day. This case is being prosecuted in the Boston Municipal Court. Fitzpatrick also has a case pending in the Quincy District Court.

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Massachusetts Carjacking Lawyers

The law on Carjacking in Massachusetts is set out in M.G.L. ch. 265 Secton 21A. It states that anyone who steals or tries to steal a motor vehicle by putting a person in fear or by assaulting the person is guilty of Carjacking, a felony. If the crime is committed with a firearm there is a minimum mandatory five year state prison sentence that must be served. Given his criminal history and the nature of this offense it is likely that the district attorney will be looking for Fitzpatrick to serve some serious state prison time. A possible defense or certainly a mitigating factor is the quantity of alcohol that the defendant had ingested at or near the time of the crime.

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Last week an 30 year old Fitchburg, Massachusetts man was arrested on allegations that he kidnapped, beat, threatened and sexually assaulted three women in a carjacking incident.  He is now being held without bail at the Bridgewater State Hospital and being evaluated for mental health issues.  Shortly after 10:00 p.m. Wednesday one of the victims was driving her car when the defendant approached and told her to get in the back.  The man then began hitting one of her passengers while threatening to kill all of the occupants.  When the woman fought back the defendant hit her in the mouth cutting her lip.  The defendant intended to force the women to drive him to Boston.  However, 911 calls made by one of the women prompted the assistance of the state police and the man was ultimately apprehended.  The defendant was charged with kidnapping, assault with the intent to commit rape, carjacking, assault and battery, threatening to commit a crime, assault with a dangerous weapon and resisting arrest. 

Read Article:  Man Charged With Sexual Assault, Assault and Battery After Kidnapping and Carjacking Three Women

In the context of this case the carjacking is most likely the most serious charge carrying with it a possible 15 year state prison sentence.  There is also a five year minimum sentence that must be imposed if someone is convicted of carjacking while armed with a dangerous weapon.  The article states that the defendant in this case was wearing a chain around his neck containing a razor blade.  A razor blade can be considered a dangerous weapon thus possibly requiring the imposition of the mandatory five year sentence if this man is convicted of this crime. 

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