By Joseph Domelowicz Jr.
For the Transcript
Winthrop Police, with the help of a reserve officer who was on duty for a parking enforcement detail, made four arrests in two separate stolen car incidents Sunday night, and in doing so, may have solved a string of recent car thefts and break-ins that had plagued the town for several weeks.
“In the past two weeks or so, there have been an unusually large number of car break-ins and several stolen car reports, with approximately six or seven stolen cars during that period,” explained Executive Officer Lieutenant Terry Delehanty. “But on Sunday, we had a pair of incidents that led to several arrests, and we may also have caught a suspect in several of the previously reported car thefts as well.”
Delehanty said an auxiliary police unit patrolling the town late Saturday night into Sunday morning called the station asking for a cruiser to assist with someone who had driven straight at them. The vehicle then stopped, and three suspects jumped out and fled on foot.
Officer Dawne Armitstead, Detective Robert McFarland and Reserve Officer Pat Curran, who was on his way to work to begin an assignment enforcing local parking regulations, all responded to the scene, along with MBTA Police Officer Paul Petrucelli, and after a brief search, one suspect was located, identified by the auxiliary unit and placed under arrest.
Charged in the incident was 17-year-old Cody Milligan of 23 Endicott Avenue, Revere. Milligan was charged with receiving stolen property (the motor vehicle in which he was seen fleeing), that was determined to be a stolen car from Winthrop.
Milligan was arraigned in East Boston District Court on Monday.
Later that same morning, at about 5 a.m., a local resident entered the Winthrop Police Station to report that his car, a blue Volvo, had been stolen from in front of his home.
As the description of the vehicle and license plate was dispatched out to patrol officers, Reserve Officer Curran was backing his cruiser into a parking spot in front of the Winthrop Police Station and saw the vehicle drive right by him.
Curran pursued the vehicle, radioed to the station for assistance, and attempted to stop the car, but the vehicle pulled into the parking lot of a local gas station at the corner of Shirley and Revere streets, and again the occupants fled.
Curran succeeded in apprehending one of the suspects, a 15-year-old male from Winthrop and two other suspects, 17-year-old Zakaria Benkreira of Revere and 17- year-old Adel Ousana, also of Revere, who were both later arrested by responding officers David Brown and Detective McFarland.
All three suspects were charged with receiving stolen property, and Benkreira was also charged with possession of a dangerous weapon (brass knuckles) and failure to stop for a police officer.
“This was a case of good police work and also being in the right place at the right time,” said Delehanty. “I’m not happy that we had these incidents going on, but I am happy with the way our officers responded. The report of the [second] stolen car was made at 5 a.m. and the first arrest was made around 5:30. Having Reserve Officer Curran on duty for parking enforcement was definitely a factor in being able to solve both of these crimes so quickly.”
Delehanty noted that with the four arrests made Sunday night, Detective Lieutenant Brian Perrin and his unit are now reviewing the previous stolen motor vehicle reports from the past several weeks to see if any of those thefts can be tied to the suspects who were charged Sunday night.
“First of all, I want to congratulate Reserve Officer Pat Curran for his excellent work on Sunday night,” said Interim Town Manager Larry Holmes on Monday. “But more importantly, congratulations should go to the entire Winthrop Police Department and to the town accountant’s office, which worked together to bring this parking enforcement program back in-house. The success in bringing that program back into Winthrop with the help of reserve officers led directly to the ability of the department to apprehend the suspects in these cases.”
Delehanty also credited the town’s decision to use reserve officers for the residential parking enforcement program.
“It gives us extra eyes and people when we need it most,” said Delehanty. “I’m grateful to the administration for bringing that program back into a law enforcement function and giving us the extra people.”
The three adults charged on Sunday were all arraigned in East Boston District Court on Monday. The 15-year old Winthrop male was arraigned in Chelsea Juvenile Court.