BY JULIE MANGANIS
---- — SALEM — John Mizioch “really doesn’t appear to have a defense to this, except that he’s got a drug issue,” his own lawyer said yesterday during Mizioch’s arraignment on charges that he broke into three Salem homes and stole dozens of items.
It turns out that Mizioch, 26, confessed — and even helped police locate a stolen Nikon digital camera that he’d tucked inside of his mattress in his 121/2 Daniels St. apartment, according to court papers.
The Nikon was one of numerous pieces of electronics, along with jewelry, coins, a Caspian Airsoft pistol, power tools, lottery tickets and even a box of Cuban cigars, that were taken in a series of house breaks in Mizioch’s neighborhood, two on his own street, earlier this month.
Mizioch was arrested Tuesday after police, who had been conducting surveillance, followed him to CVS on Essex Street. They discovered that he was carrying a hypodermic syringe and a small knife.
They had already built a case against him during a nearly two-week investigation into the burglaries on Daniels and Arbella streets, finding evidence at a Lynnfield pawn shop that he’d sold jewelry stolen from the Arbella Street burglary, as well as watching him leave Steve’s Quality Market downtown, where he and a companion had just cashed in winning lottery tickets taken from a home on Daniels Street.
And officers had seen him walking around the neighborhood where residents had reported not only house breaks but a man walking around knocking on doors, claiming to be from the gas company to check on frozen pipes.
Shortly after his arrest, Mizioch agreed to speak to the detectives, telling them that he had pawned some items in Lynnfield and others in Salem. He admitted that he had destroyed one laptop taken in a house break after discovering that it belonged to the resident’s employer and was marked with the company’s name, making it impossible to resell. He told them another laptop was on his living room table.
While executing a search warrant, police found more than two dozen items, many of them fitting the descriptions of the items taken in the three burglaries on Feb. 18, 19 and 20.
Other items, police say, may have come from other breaks.
In addition to selling some of the jewelry and coins to pawn shops, police, who found a shipping label sitting on a printer in Mizioch’s apartment, believe he was selling stolen items on eBay.
Despite the confession, Mizioch’s attorney entered a “not guilty” plea to charges that include breaking and entering in the daytime with intent to commit a felony, malicious destruction, and larceny during his arraignment in Salem District Court yesterday.
And while his lawyer, Steve Reardon, was candid with the judge about his client’s chances at trial, that didn’t persuade the judge to go easy on bail. Judge Michael Lauranzano set bail at $10,000, more than even the prosecutor was seeking.
Assistant District Attorney Alex Grimes cited Mizioch’s three-page record, which includes prior trips to jail.
Reardon, who had urged the judge to set a far-lower bail, said his client is suffering from opiate addiction and needs to be sent for treatment.
But Lauranzano, in his bail decision, cited his concern about Mizioch’s “significant record” and past jail terms, and noted the strength of the case.
A pretrial hearing is scheduled for March 26.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at email@example.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.