SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

September 18, 2013

Police identify suspects in parking meter thefts

By Neil H. Dempsey
Staff Writer

---- — SALEM — Police say two men will face charges after more than $1,000 in change was stolen from 200 city parking meters over a one-month period.

Timothy A. Allain, 35, of 16 Cedar Crest Ave., Salem, was arrested yesterday on charges of larceny of property under $250, possession of burglarious tools, two counts of breaking into a depository, receiving stolen property over $250, illegal possession of a class A substance and a violation of the city’s knife ordinance, according to the incident log.

A warrant will be sought for a second man thought to be Allain’s accomplice.

Police say the investigation that led to Allain’s arrest began on August 14, when the parking clerk reported that meters were being broken into.

“The parking attendants began to notice that during the collection, several of the meter coin cups had already been emptied,” police wrote.

Meters had been targeted in the areas of Essex Street, Sewall Street, Hawthorne Boulevard, Riley Plaza, Crombie Street, One Salem Green, Derby Street, Pickering Wharf, Lafayette Street and at the municipal lot.

On Wednesday, Sept. 11, an employee at One Salem Green reported that she’d seen two suspicious males enter a parking meter in the Church Street lot.

“The only description we had at this time were two white males; one tall and one was short with tattoos,” wrote police.

Yesterday, numerous officers spread out through the downtown area, both on foot and in unmarked vehicles. Two white males were observed in the area of 116 Lafayette St.

“These two male parties were both on bicycles and were standing in the area of a meter,” wrote police.

A detective followed them to the area of Washington Street near Starbucks, noting that one of the men had the same clothing and backpack as a suspect involved in a bike theft somewhere in the city on Monday.

While on Washington Street, the detective observed one of the men — Allain — enter a meter and empty the coin cup into his pocket, while the other served as a lookout, according to the log.

The men then made their way toward Bank of America, where an officer apprehended Allain. The other man, whom police say they’ve identified, “took off quickly” and eluded apprehension, police said.

The suspects used a key, possibly homemade, to access the meters, police said.