Police Seek Suspect In Commercial Breaks Plaguing District 4

Boston Police have issued a warrant for a suspect’s arrest in connection with a rash of overnight commercial burglaries that have plagued District 4 in recent weeks.

District 4 Captain Steven Sweeney told those in attendance at the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay Police Panel on Monday, Nov. 25, at First Church in Boston that Boston Police are seeking an individual believed to be responsible for about 10 or 12 incidents, which started sporadically about a month and half prior.

Among the evidence collected from the crime scenes were several blood droplets, a hammer used in one of the break-ins and a palm print left on a cash register, Sweeney said.

The breaks were occurring regularly until $4,100 was stolen from a Commonwealth Avenue ski shop. Afterwards, the incidents tapered off for a while until the evening of Sunday, Nov. 24, when another area business was targeted, Sweeney said.

“They come in spurts,” Sweeney said. “It’s the same guy…and it’s usually driven by drugs.”

The district was hit by another string of commercial breaks early this year before a suspect was apprehended and convicted in February, Sweeney said, and while in jail, the suspect was charged in connection with another incident on Oct. 12.

Meanwhile, since Boston Police undertook “Operation Clean Sweep” over the summer in an effort to combat the opioid epidemic at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard, Sweeney said the problem has migrated to other parts of the district, including the Starbucks and Dunkin’ locations in the vicinity of 151 Massachusetts Ave., the 200 block of Symphony Road, Edgerly Road and Westland Avenue.

“A lot of this has fallen on the police with this issue,” Sweeney said. “We get the 9-1-1 calls, and there aren’t enough outreach workers to go around. We also all carry Narcan to reverse the effects of [overdose].”

Sweeney added that Mayor Martin Walsh launched Mass Cass 2.0 last month – a concerted effort to combat the opioid problem in the area.

And while police can invoke Section 35 – a Massachusetts law that permit the courts to involuntarily an individual with alcohol or a substance use disorder – Sweeney said the process sometimes proves problematic because it requires that party to be cited repeatedly before any action can be taken.

“You have to see the same people day after day,” Sweeney said. “And what happens if the first time you someone is the worst time?”

In another matter, Sweeney said police typically see an uptick in the theft of delivery packages left outside homes around the holidays, which he describes as a “crime of opportunity.”

Sweeney also said while thefts from unlocked cars are on the decline, the district has recently seen an uptick in “smash and grabs” from vehicles. “Don’t leave anything in your car,” he cautioned.

To help prevent home break-ins, Sweeney said the Boston Police offers a program where Richie Litto of the Community Service office will visit people’s homes and condos to offer advice on “target hardening,” including checking the locks and recommending the installation of additional lighting; call Litto at 617-343-4457 for more information.

A NABB Police Panel won’t be held in December, Public Safety Committee Chair Charles Neckyfarow said, but will return in January.

“I’m thinking about [holding the police panels] every other month or once a quarter, primarily because there aren’t that many problems and there aren’t that many issues,” Neckyfarow said.

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