, Salem, MA

Local News

June 19, 2013

Police get a two-fer during robbery investigation

SALEM — A Salem robbery investigation took a “Law and Order”-style turn when, police say, while seeking to question witnesses to a robbery, they discovered a prostitution business being run by the suspect’s girlfriend.

Now, both Aaron Pelletier, 44, and his now-presumably former girlfriend Jennifer Owens, 41, both of 3 Cross Street Court, Salem, are in trouble. He’s charged with unarmed robbery, and she is charged with engaging in sexual conduct for a fee.

The two appeared to glare at each other in the courtroom at Salem District Court yesterday, where a judge was puzzled by their description as co-defendants on such disparate charges — until a police prosecutor explained the connection.

Late on the evening of June 10, a man walked into the Coffee Time Bake Shop on Bridge Street and ordered a cup of coffee, five creams and five sugars, police said. When the cashier opened the register, he demanded that she hand over $100.

Instead, the frightened employee ran, leaving the suspect to grab about $70 in cash from the open drawer, Salem Police Lt. Conrad Prosniewski told a judge.

The man then ran. The owner of the coffee shop ran out after him but was unable to catch him. The owner had noticed the man speaking briefly with a woman who was near Sam’s Market, so he approached her. She denied knowing who the robber was but seemed a bit “defensive,” the owner later told police.

Sgt. Kristian Hanson began looking at surveillance videos from the store and from Sam’s Market, and police canvassed the area.

Several residents complained about a couple that had recently moved into the neighborhood, Salem Police Capt. Tom Griffin said.

The investigators obtained a phone number and discovered that it belonged to Owens. They also discovered that Owens was advertising “services” on the website Backpage, using the name “Mesha.”

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