, Salem, MA


August 16, 2010

Police: History of trouble at house hit by home invaders

BEVERLY — The Centerville house where armed home invaders struck last week has been the scene of underage drinking parties, illegal drug distribution and numerous neighbor complaints, according to a letter that police Chief Mark Ray sent the owner last summer.

"The Beverly Police Department has logged ... 62 police entries related to 1 Brandt Circle," Ray wrote on Aug. 6, 2009. "During the past 12 months, police have conducted 44 directed patrols at that location in response to multiple neighbor complaints of house parties, erratic motor vehicle operation, disturbances and animal complaints. ..."

After police wrote to owner Thomas Sullivan of Potomac, Md., and stepped up their patrols in the neighborhood, calls decreased at 1 Brandt Circle, a home assessed at $585,000 on a dead-end street.

But last Monday night, police were back. This time, two men with guns had gone in through a back door demanding money. Wearing handkerchiefs over their faces and blue rubber gloves, the men instead made off with cell phones, a wallet, a backpack and a laptop computer. Police have not caught them.

"I think this has brought the situation to a whole new level," Ward 6 Councilor Judith Cronin said.

Noise and disorderly conduct seemed mild compared to an armed home invasion, she said.

"If I were to canvass the neighborhood, there's a high level of concern and high level of frustration with the situation continuing," Cronin said. "It's going to require a new way of looking at the situation so it can be fixed."

Neighbors interviewed last week refused to comment on the record. However, Ray's letter, which quotes 15 complaints neighbors have made to police, made it clear that residents see 1 Brandt Circle as a problem.

"There are parties one to three nights per week with loud talking, yelling, honking car horns, setting off car alarms, extremely loud playing of car radios, vomiting in the street and peeling out in their cars. The kids leave at 12:30 or 1:30, or later," one resident reported in the letter.

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