, Salem, MA

October 30, 2013

Police arrest suspect in YMCA thefts

By Neil H. Dempsey
Staff Writer

---- — SALEM — Police say they’ve arrested a man who stole items from lockers at the YMCA on Leggs Hill Road earlier this month — at least once using keys he found to access cars outside — and that he falsely reported himself a victim of just such a crime to deflect attention.

Robert Sentas, 26, of 35 Perry Ave., Lynnfield, was arrested last night in Danvers on a warrant with charges of larceny from a building, larceny over $250, breaking and entering to a motor vehicle, uttering a forged instrument and making a false report of a crime, said Detective Daniel Tucker.

Police received a report of a theft on Oct. 12., when a YMCA employee told an officer that somebody had gone into the unsecured locker in the men’s locker room and stolen a set of keys, according to the incident log.

While speaking with the woman, the officer was approached by a man — the suspect, Robert Sentas — who said his wallet containing $5 in cash, two credit cards and a Social Security card had been stolen from his unsecured locker, according to the log.

“Sentas was advised to cancel the cards and to request a copy of his credit report for the next several months to make sure that no one uses his credit,” police wrote in the log.

Tucker called the report an attempt to “deflect anything that would’ve made him look guilty.”

Another theft from an unsecured locker in the men’s locker room was reported later the same day. In that instance, a man found that his keys had been stolen from his locker, then went out and discovered his wallet had been stolen from his vehicle.

During the ensuing investigation, Tucker determined that a credit card stolen from one of the victims had been used at a store in Swampscott and located surveillance footage of the person who used it. With help from YMCA staff, Sentas was then identified as a suspect, he said.

As it turned out, Sentas had just joined the YMCA on Oct. 5, and had only used it one other time, on Oct. 12, Tucker said.

“Both of those days, there were thefts reported from lockers,” Tucker said.

Police had responded to the YMCA on Oct. 5 shortly before noon and taken a report from a man who said that somebody had entered his locker and stolen his car keys, then apparently taken a wallet from his car. A short time later, another man reported that a $400 bath bag had been stolen from his locker.

It was later determined that Sentas has pawned an iPhone stolen during one of the breaks at a local store, Tucker said.

Sentas will be charged with additional counts of larceny from a building, larceny over $250, and breaking and entering a motor vehicle, Tucker said.

Detective Charlene Sano investigated the Oct. 5 thefts.