, Salem, MA

Local News

December 27, 2012

Trip to the movies turns into trip to jail

Middleton man spends Christmas in custody after scuffle at 'Hobbit'

DANVERS — Netflix customers weren’t the only movie fans whose Christmas Eve viewing plans were disrupted.

Roland Lemieux, 31, of 10 Kimberly Lane, Middleton, ended up on an “unexpected journey” of his own during a showing of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” at the AMC Loews movie theater in Danvers on Monday night.

Lemieux was arrested on a string of charges, including disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace, after employees of the theater, inside the Liberty Tree Mall, reported that he was seen staggering around in the lobby, his pants falling nearly to the floor, demanding a refund and then buying tickets to another showing of the same film. They suspected he was drunk or high.

By the time Danvers police and mall security officers arrived, around 9 p.m., Lemieux and a woman, Lisa Vaslopoulos, 38, of Lynn, were inside another showing of the film, seated in the back row at the top of the stadium-style theater.

Vaslopoulos agreed to leave when asked. But Lemieux wasn’t as cooperative, prosecutor Heidi Sylvanowicz said.

He repeatedly demanded to know why police were asking to speak with him and began yelling. Then, police say, he stood up, put a box of concession-stand food on the seat and appeared to reach for his waistband, which led the officers to grab him.

He was led out of the movie theater yelling at the officers and calling out for his companion.

Later, police found two plastic baggies under the seat, a small “twist” with about half a gram of cocaine and a slightly larger bag that contained 8 grams, Sylvanowicz said during Lemieux’s arraignment yesterday in Salem District Court. Police added a charge of cocaine possession against Lemieux, who spent the holiday in custody at Middleton Jail.

Lemieux denied using cocaine, but told police that he hadn’t taken his prescribed medication that day. He later told the officers that he’d recently been a patient at a drug treatment program, for an addiction that started with painkillers he was given after a BMX bicycle accident.

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