At approximately 3 p.m. on March 5, Warwick Police responded to the Rite Aid located at 1201 Warwick Avenue for a reported stabbing. The investigation revealed that a 41 year-old male suspect entered the store and attacked an 18 year-old female employee with a large knife. The attack appears to be random.
Two store employees intervened and restrained the suspect, who was taken into custody by the responding officers. This male suspect was previously reported missing from Massachusetts. He is identified as Jacob Gallant from Westport, MA.
The female victim was transported to Rhode Island Hospital with multiple stab wounds. According to police, she is reportedly in serious, but stable condition. Charges are pending against the male suspect and the investigation is ongoing.
DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE
A driver coming from a party at the Crowne Plaza, alleged to have had a blood alcohol content over three times the legal limit, was recently arrested for driving under the influence.
On February 22 around 6:30 p.m., Officer Ali Jaafar heard a call over the radio by Officer Christian Vargas, who stated that a vehicle was traveling into oncoming traffic and nearly struck his cruiser head on. Vargas was providing a woman with transportation to Kent Hospital and was traveling southbound on Greenwich Avenue when he observed a minivan take a wide left turn out of the Crowne Plaza parking lot.
The car veered over the double lines traveling northbound into the officer’s path. Officer Vargas then activated his overhead lights and air horn. The car eventually stopped, facing northbound in the left southbound lane.
Officer Vargas made contact with the operator, and detected a strong odor of alcohol emanating from his breath. The driver had bloodshot, watery eyes and spoke in a slurred manner. Later identified as Kevin Lo, 51, of 350 Hope Street in Providence, he was asked to turn off his car. He told the officer that he had been at a party for people who work on computers, and that he had been drinking but could not tell the officer what he had. Officer Jaafar then arrived on scene and took over the investigation.
According to Officer Jaafar’s report, Lo appeared to be slumped over the driver’s side window, and appeared to be unable to maintain a sitting posture as he was swaying within his seat and outside of his vehicle over the window. When asked, Lo stated that he had one beer, then said he had two beers. He was operating his work truck, and said he had come from a convention.
Lo agreed to submit to a series of standardized field sobriety tests. Based on his performance and the officer’s experience and training, it was determined that Lo was unfit to operate a motor vehicle safely. He was arrested and transported to police headquarters.
At the station, Lo repeatedly stated that he could “hook officers up with computer fairs” and admitted that he “was far too drunk.” He apologized numerous times, and told officers that he had been drinking sake bombs and beers. He agreed to take a chemical breathalyzer test, which showed blood alcohol readings of 0.311 and 0.301.
As a result of the high blood alcohol content, Lo was immediately transported to Kent Hospital to prevent alcohol poisoning. He was charged with driving under the influence first offense, and issued violations for leaving the lane of travel, laned roadway violations, and for passing a vehicle in opposite direction left of center. He was then released with paperwork directly to hospital staff.
On February 23 around 1 a.m., Officer Matthew Smith was traveling southbound in the area of 840 Post Road when he observed a white Volvo traveling northbound in the left lane at a high rate of speed. Radar displayed the car’s speed at 68 miles per hour in a 35 mile per hour zone.
Officer Smith conducted a U turn, activated his lights and sirens, and followed the ca, which continued to travel at a high rate of speed through the intersection of Post Road and Atlantic Avenue when the traffic signal was red without making any attempt to stop. The officer continued to catch up with the vehicle, which he noted was swerving back and forth between lanes.
At the Warwick Avenue intersection, the officer observed the vehicle travel through the intersection and another red light without stopping while attempting to turn left onto Warwick Avenue. According to the report, a car at the intersection that had a green light had just cleared when the suspect vehicle began to lose control, with the rear of the vehicle sliding out almost 180 degrees while the tires screeched.
The driver regained control and continued to travel north on Warwick Avenue while continuing to swerve before ultimately coming to a stop in the area of 529 Warwick Avenue. Other officers arrived on scene to assist Officer Smith with the stop.
Contact was then made with the driver, identified as Jonathan McDowell, 29, of 267 Montgomery Avenue in Providence. Officer Smith recognized McDowell from a previous traffic stop on February 17, in which the officer observed McDowell traveling 67 miles per hour in the same area of Warwick. During that stop, McDowell was issued a citation with a reduced fine for speeding.
Upon speaking with McDowell, the officer informed him of his observations. McDowell began to dispute them, saying he was traveling at 45 miles per hour and the lights at the intersections he passed through were green. He said he recalled passing other vehicles that were in the right lane that were traveling too slow. He said he was heading home from work at a pizzeria and had two alcoholic beverages prior to driving.
McDowell was asked to partake in a series of standardized sobriety tests, which he agreed to. Officer Smith did not observe enough indicators to believe that McDowell was under the influence. However, the officer had observed enough traffic violations to determine that McDowell had operated his vehicle recklessly, endangering the public.
McDowell was taken into custody while a family member took possession of the vehicle. He was taken to police headquarters where he was charged with reckless driving, drag racing, eluding police officers first offense and assigned a Third District court date. He was also issued citations for speeding 11 miles over the limit, obedience to traffic control devices, and laned roadway violations. He was later released.
Officer Timothy Kenyon was dispatched to a Sweetfern Road residence on February 13 for a report of a fraud.
At the scene he met with the victim, who stated she had received a notice from GC Service Limited Partnership, a collection agency, stating that she owed Sprint $831.70. The woman realized this was a mistake and contacted the company to dispute the charge. She confirmed that the account had been opened with her social security number, and stated that she had not given anyone permission to use her personal information to open any accounts.
The victim said she wished to pursue a criminal complaint, and the report was forwarded to detectives for review.
On February 21 around 12:45 p.m., Officer Jill Marshall was dispatched to the Colleen Haxton’s Liquors on Post Road in reference to a shoplifting.
Officer Marshall met with employees, who stated they noticed that shelf inventory was low in a couple of areas in the store. After performing a count, they realized that alcohol had been stolen. Video surveillance was then watched, and w white female with bright red hair was observed taking several bottles.
Employees had forwarded an image of the woman to other stores in the area, and a friend at another establishment stated the woman looks familiar and believes her to be the same person that brings alcohol in to return for cash. The video from the store was obtained and forwarded to detectives for review.