BY ETHAN FORMAN
---- — MIDDLETON — Three Danvers teenagers face a long list of charges after police say they broke into more than 10 cars early yesterday morning, then assaulted a police officer when he confronted them in the area of Maple Street and Kenney Road.
The incident set off a three-hour manhunt, and police are seeking a fourth suspect on a warrant, Patrolman Robert Peachey said.
Blair Stoney, 18, of 24 Patricia Road; Matthew Campbell, 18, of 9 Ardmore Drive; and Kyle Maffeo, 17, of 23 Prince St., Apt. 8, all of Danvers, face 11 counts of breaking and entering a vehicle in the nighttime to commit a felony, two counts of malicious destruction of property worth more than $250 for damage to officers’ uniforms, receiving stolen property, disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace and resisting arrest, Essex County District Attorney spokesman Steve O’Connell and Middleton police said.
Maffeo and Campbell also face an additional charge of assault and battery on a police officer, police Chief James DiGianvittorio said.
All three pleaded not guilty in Salem District Court yesterday, O’Connell said. Prosecutors had asked for $1,000 bail on each person, but Judge Michael Lauranzano set bail at $500. Their cases were continued until Sept. 13. It was not immediately known if all three had made bail yesterday.
At approximately 3:15 a.m., off-duty Patrolman Charles Costigan was driving in the vicinity of Kenney Road when he saw four individuals walking down the street wearing backpacks, Peachey said. Costigan said that they were walking in “a suspicious manner” and that two of the individuals disappeared from view. Costigan called for a cruiser.
Patrolman James Bernhard arrived and found the individuals on Maple Street and Kenney Road. As Bernhard spoke with them, Peachey said, they assaulted the officer and fled. Bernhard suffered minor injuries, including some abrasions to his knees, but he was treated on scene by an ambulance and stayed on duty, Peachey and DiGianvittorio said.
Sgt. David Arathuzik called in the state police and Essex County Sheriff’s K-9 units, which started tracking the suspects. Stoney was apprehended immediately.
At 5:15 a.m., some suspects were spotted at the back of Memorial Hall, Middleton’s town hall, at the intersection of routes 114 and 62. They fled, but a short time later, state police apprehended Campbell and Maffeo with the police dog in a cow pasture behind Richardson’s Ice Cream, less than a mile south of Memorial Hall.
The suspects suffered minor injuries from dog bites, Peachey said. Two of the suspects were treated at the hospital, delaying their arraignment until yesterday afternoon.
A warrant was sought for a fourth suspect, who is a young man, Peachey said.
How did police know they had been breaking into cars?
“When they were apprehended, they had a lot of other people’s items in their backpacks,” Peachey said.
As the morning wore on, car break victims living on side streets off Maple Street began calling police, who were able to match items found in the suspects’ backpacks — including cellphones, iPods and cameras — to the callers.
The case may also have implications in Danvers.
“Danvers will be reaching out to them (Middleton police), because we have had a lot of car breaks recently,” said Danvers Sgt. Robert Bettencourt. Danvers has had 33 vehicle break-ins, mostly from unlocked cars at residential locations, since June 1.
Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at email@example.com or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.