YOU’LL SHOOT YOUR EYE OUT
A suspect who may have watched the movie A Christmas Story one too many times was recently arrested for stealing a BB gun.
On November 19 at approximately 5:07 p.m., Officer Walter Larson was dispatched to the Bald Hill Road Walmart for a shoplifting report.
When he arrived on scene, Officer Larson met with the store’s loss prevention officer who advised him that they had a suspect, later identified as Christopher Guzman, 20, of 16 Harrison Street in Pawtucket, in custody. Security stated that they observed Guzman select a BB gun, two CO2 cartridges, and two packages of BB ammunition with a total combined value of $101.70.
Guzman placed the items into a bag and proceeded to the Home and Garden section of the store, where he passed all points of sale but made no attempt to pay for the merchandise before exiting the store. He was then detained and brought back inside.
Guzman was taken into police custody without incident, and was issued a summons for one count of shoplifting. He was later released from custody.
Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin announced that Deborah Brown, 57, of Warwick, pleaded nolo contendere last month to one count of obtaining money under false pretenses for submitting false bills for medically unnecessary adult incontinent supplies to the Rhode Island Medicaid Program, and to three counts of failure to file personal Rhode Island income tax returns for the years 2011, 2012 and 2013.
According to a press release, under the terms of the plea, the defendant was sentenced to 10 years with four years to serve, of which six months will be served at the Adult Correctional Institute followed by three and one half years on home confinement. She was also ordered to pay $263,130 in restitution. Her sentence commenced Monday, November 28, 2016.
Had the case proceeded to trial, the state was prepared to prove that Brown, while an employee of Northeast Pedorthics, a durable medical equipment and incontinent supply company, submitted false bills to the Rhode Island Medicaid Program for medically unnecessary patient incontinent supplies which the Rhode Island Medicaid program paid to Northeast Pedorthics. Ms. Brown personally withdrew $263,130 from the total amount of fraudulently obtained money paid from the state to Northeast Pedorthics. She also failed to file her personal Rhode Island income tax returns for three years.
David Chandonnet, the owner of Northeast Pedorthics, is currently charged with 17 counts of medical assistance fraud, one count of obtaining money under false pretenses for Medicaid fraud, and three counts of failure to file Rhode Island income tax returns for a non-resident having Rhode Island Income for the years 2011, 2012, and 2013. The criminal case against David Chandonnet is still pending.
TEXTING WHILE DRIVING
On November 23 around 1:40 p.m., Officer Matthew Barlow was on patrol traveling southbound on Post Road near Route 37 when he observed a gold Toyota Solara operating in the right hand, southbound lane. The female driver, later identified as Alyson Tierney, 20, of 407 Woodbine Street in Cranston, appeared to be distracted by her smartphone.
According to Officer Barlow’s report, Tierney made several keystrokes on the screen and continually took her eyes off the road and looked down towards her lap.
A traffic stop was initiated in the area of Lincoln Park Cemetery, and when the officer approached the driver’s side a smart phone could be seen in plain view on Tierney’s lap. Also in view was the phone’s screen, which was consistent with that of a text message screen with recent messages.
Tierney stated that she was using her phone for its GPS feature in order to travel to work. When later asked where her job was, she told the officer she worked for a group home further south on Post Road, and was inconsistent with map navigation.
After running checks through the DMV, it was discovered that Tierney’s license was suspended for several violations last month. She was issued a summons for driving on a suspended license and for text messaging while operating a motor vehicle. Her car was moved into the parking lot of the nearby cemetery, where it was later turned over to a licensed operator.
DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Officers John Curley and Matthew Barlow were on a special traffic detail on November 24 around 1 a.m., traveling westbound on Main Avenue in the area of Earl Street. There they observed a black Lexus pass their location in the left hand lane, which they clocked traveling at 68 miles per hour.
The officers followed the suspect car, and caught up with it at the intersection of Main Avenue and Industrial Drive where it had stopped at the traffic light. The vehicle made a left hand turn onto Industrial, and the officers activated their overhead lights and initiated a traffic stop.
Upon making contact with the driver, identified as Nicholas Colaluca, 30, of 1 Diane Drive in Coventry, the officers asked him the reason for his speeding, and he stated that “I own an SUV and I’m not used to driving this vehicle.”
According to his report, Officer Curley immediately detected a strong odor of alcohol emanating from Colaluca’s breath and that his eyes were bloodshot and watery. The officer asked him if he had consumed any alcoholic beverages that evening, and Colaluca replied that he had one drink, then agreed to submit to a series of standardized sobriety tests.
Based on Officer Curley’s experience and Colaluca’s performance, it was determined that he was unfit to operate a motor vehicle. He was arrested, handcuffed and placed in the police cruiser where he repeatedly asked, “Can you please just forget this happened and let me go with a speeding ticket?”
After being transported to police headquarters, he later refused to take a chemical breathalyzer test. He was issued a summons for speeding, driving under the influence, and refusal to submit to a chemical breathalyzer test. He was later released to a sober adult.
A man who recently made a quick convenience store stop for coffee returned to the parking lot to find his vehicle was stolen.
On November 23 around 6:30 a.m., Officer Charles Austin met with the victim at the Cumberland Farms at 1556 Post Road. He told the officer that he went inside briefly and when he returned the vehicle was gone.
The officer then spoke with the store manager about any available video surveillance, and he was taken to a back room to view the footage. There he observed the victim park and enter the store. A white male with dark hair wearing a gray and black North Face jacket with blue hood underneath was seen approaching the vehicle, waiting for a moment and then entered the vehicle and drove off in an unknown direction.
The car is described as a 2011 silver four door Buick Lacross with Pennsylvania license plates. A copy of the surveillance footage was provided by the store to the officer and submitted to detectives for further review. Currently there are no suspects.