SALEM — Three Salem men have been charged after a two-day spree of thefts, damage and harassment inside a Salem convenience store.
Maxwell Consoli, 23, of 80 Orchard St., and Christian Clemons, 20, of 177 North St. pleaded not guilty to two counts each of unarmed robbery and malicious destruction of property and to charges of shoplifting during their arraignments yesterday in Salem District Court.
A third man, Joseph Cabozzi, 24, of 248 Washington St., pleaded not guilty to a single count of unarmed robbery.
Police say the trio targeted a middle-aged store clerk with limited English skills who worked overnight at the 7-Eleven on North Street (Route 114) in the early-morning hours of Dec. 30 and then again the following night, Dec. 31.
Shortly after 2 a.m. on the 30th, video surveillance shows, Consoli and Clemons walked into the store, then separated. Clemons walked to the front of the store, reached over the counter and began grabbing cigarettes from a display, police said. In the process, he broke two plastic lottery ticket display containers.
The store owner confronted him, but as he was doing so, Consoli reached over the other side of the counter and helped himself to cigarettes. The two men then fled.
Two hours later, just after 4 a.m., both men returned, police said. Consoli entered first and began looking around the store. Moments later, police say, Clemons ran in, headed directly to the counter, knocked over two lottery displays and began grabbing cigarettes. Then, as the clerk was distracted by Clemons, Consoli again returned to the counter and grabbed more cigarettes.
The following night, around 2 a.m., all three young men entered the store.
This time, the clerk tried to prevent them from leaving by locking the door. But the clerk, who is in his 50s, was pushed to the back of the store by Consoli, as the others escaped. Consoli then fled as well, police said.
Following an investigation, police obtained arrest warrants for the trio and took them into custody on Wednesday night.
Consoli and Clemons were ordered held on $5,000 bail by Judge Michael Lauranzano, who set bail for Cabozzi at $750.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.