SALEM — Five men are facing charges that they tried to force their way into the home of a Dow Street man in order to rob him late Thursday night, police said.
Investigators believe the men had learned that the victim, an acquaintance, had recently come into a large amount of money, Salem Police Lt. Conrad Prosniewski told a Salem District Court judge during the men’s arraignments yesterday.
“This was a botched home invasion,” said Prosniewski, who said the money appears to have been the proceeds of an insurance settlement.
Charged in the case were Richard Mottola Jr., 27, of 1 Anne Drive, Peabody, the driver of a gray Acura stopped by police on Canal Street shortly after the incident; Alex Figueroa, 22, of 282 Washington St., Salem, who allegedly pointed a realistic-looking pellet gun at the victim and his girlfriend; Joseph “JoeFro” Fronduto, 20, of Saugus, who tried to convince the victim to get out of his car; Ryan Hussien, 21, of 148A Washington St., Peabody; and Abner Trinidad, 21, of 8 Lowe St., Peabody.
The Dow Street man and his girlfriend had just returned to his home, in her car, when they noticed two masked men standing near the window of the house, Prosniewski said.
The men did not immediately notice the victim in the car and asked his girlfriend where they could find him. When they persisted, the victim leaned forward and asked what they wanted.
Fronduto then asked the victim to get out of the car. When the man refused, police say, Figueroa allegedly pointed a gun at the couple. The victim’s girlfriend backed up in a panic, striking a pole, then pulled forward and backed away, as the suspects ran toward a parked Acura.
The couple followed the Acura as they called police, who caught up with the car on Canal Street and stopped it. As the men inside the car appeared to be moving around, police drew their weapons and ordered the men out at gunpoint, one by one.