BEVERLY — A career criminal wanted in at least four other states is being held on $750,000 cash bail, charged in two “smash-and-grab” burglaries at a Beverly jewelry store last winter and suspected in more than a dozen others around New England.
James Radler, 51, who had been staying at the Knights Inn in Danvers, pleaded not guilty to two counts each of breaking and entering and malicious destruction of property and to being a fugitive from justice during his arraignment yesterday in Salem District Court.
Radler, described by Beverly police as a “one-man crime spree,” was arrested at the Route 1 motel early Saturday morning on a warrant.
Prosecutors say they are eyeing him in similar crimes in Peabody, Danvers, Swampscott and Andover. He has also been linked to at least 10 other burglaries around New England, according to Beverly police.
At the time of the Beverly burglaries, he was out on bail in a Rhode Island case, in which police charged him with possessing burglarious tools after seeing him appear to “case” a store in Barrington.
He was also on parole in an Idaho fraud case, according to court documents.
Prosecutors allege that Radler twice smashed his way into Desjardins Jewelers on Enon Street (Route 1A), the first time on Dec. 23, and then again about a week later, on Jan. 1.
Police arriving at the store after the first break discovered a 15-pound dumbbell inside the door and surmised that the burglar used it to smash the door, prosecutor Greg Friedholm told a judge.
Display cases containing diamond jewelry and watches were smashed and looted, according to a police report by Patrolman Darlene Prinz.
But the burglar also left behind blood, which Beverly police submitted to the state lab for DNA testing.
Meanwhile, the jeweler was hit again, in the early-morning hours of New Year’s Day. This time, police found a 20-pound dumbbell inside the smashed door. And, as in the earlier burglary, display cases inside the store were smashed.