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.