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December 26, 2013

Peabody interim police chief says detective work is paying off

Retired Salem chief praises department

PEABODY — Crime happens at all hours, which is why interim Peabody police Chief Robert St. Pierre has offered a new tool for the department — nighttime detectives.

And it’s already helping to pay dividends.

“There’s been a rash of robberies,” said St. Pierre. On Dec. 19, someone burst into Tedeschi on Main Street with what appeared to be a firearm. The day before, Town Variety on Central Street was robbed. Meanwhile, a victim reported an unarmed robbery and assault and battery, also on Central Street.

Arrests have already been made in two of these cases.

Of the Tedeschi robbery, he said, “Detectives solved that in a matter of a day or two.” He cited the work of Detectives Eric Ricci and David Murphy, along with Patrolmen Matthew Stark and Tony Santos.

While the store had a video camera, the robber arrived masked. According to Detective Mike Crane, it was cooperative police work between area departments that led to the arrest of Shara Clarke, 25, of Lynn. Similarities to other robberies may have been an important element in the arrest, as Peabody reached out to Danvers and Lynn.

A BB gun was seized at the time of the arrest. Even if it was the BB gun that was used in the robbery, said St. Pierre, the clerk who faced it didn’t know it was not a more potent weapon.

The robbery on Central Street, meanwhile, resulted in the arrest of Thomas Conant, 22, of 26 Endicott St., Peabody, on charges of unarmed robbery and assault and battery. A second suspect is being sought. That arrest involved Detective Ralph Scopa and Patrolmen Michael Muse and Brendan O’Brien.

“There’s good work going on here,” St. Pierre said, “and that’s something I’d like to get out to the public.” He noted in particular the cooperative relationship between his officers. “That’s what I like: detectives and patrolmen who work together.”

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