SALEM — One of two men charged last September with using a homemade key to empty downtown Salem parking meters pleaded guilty to the charges yesterday in Salem District Court.
Timothy Allain, 36, of Salem received a suspended two-year jail term and two years of probation, the result of a plea agreement accepted by Judge Matthew Machera.
Allain and a second man, Geoff David Kellum, 30, of Swampscott, were spotted by police conducting surveillance in the area of Essex and Sewall streets last September, after city employees discovered that meters in that area and others had been emptied of their contents, prosecutor Michael Varone told the judge.
The pair are believed to have cleaned out some 200 meters to the tune of more than $1,000, said the prosecutor.
Police had been watching the pair for several days, and on Sept. 16 watched as one of the suspects cut a lock on a $700 Trek bicycle that was chained to a meter post and then pedaled away.
The same man, later identified as Allain, returned to the area.
Police also spotted Allain in the area the following day.
Then, they saw both men in the area of Loring Avenue and Lafayette Street, riding bicycles, one of them the stolen Trek.
Officers again watched as they emptied a meter. That’s when they moved in. Allain was taken into custody, but Kellum fled, the prosecutor said in court. Kellum was later arrested.
Allain was charged with larceny, possession of burglarious tools and breaking into a depository.
Machera said he was willing to go along with the proposed sentence in the case, negotiated between Varone and defense attorney Leslie Salter, but warned, “I would have no problem sending you to jail. It’s a privilege you’re getting here today, sir.”
Because police found heroin in Allain’s possession at the time, he will be subject to random drug tests while on probation.
Kellum has asked for a jury trial and is due back in court next month.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at email@example.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.