BY JULIE MANGANIS
---- — SALEM — A Salem woman police say was driving a stolen car with her 21/2 year old child inside — and who ducked into a liquor store to avoid a confrontation with the car’s owner — burst into tears yesterday after a judge ordered her held in custody because of a probation violation.
Marensi Solano, 24, of 10 First St., Salem, pleaded not guilty during her arraignment in Salem District Court on charges of receiving a stolen motor vehicle and malicious destruction of property, the back rear window of the 2013 Mazda sedan, which was reported stolen last month.
It was the owner of the Mazda, a Salem man, who spotted the car on Highland Avenue Monday afternoon. At first, he thought it was a car that looked like his own, until he saw the plate, said Salem Police Lt. Conrad Prosniewski during a hearing. He followed the car as it traveled south on Highland Avenue and into the Traders Way shopping plaza, meanwhile calling the police.
The woman got out of the Mazda with her toddler and went into Busa’s Wine and Spirits, where, an employee later told police, she’s a “regular customer.” She asked if she could go out the back door.
After she was told no, she walked out and began heading toward the rear of the shopping plaza, toward First Street. That’s where Salem police found her.
In court yesterday, she was still wearing the distinctive black leggings with orange stripes down each side that the stolen car’s owner described to police.
Solano told police she had borrowed the car so that she could take her child to a doctor’s appointment and gave officers the name of the person she claimed had let her use the car.
But police found no record of such a person.
Her attorney, Patrick O’Malley, suggested that there is nothing linking her to the theft of the car and noted that the owner’s girlfriend, who lives across the street from Solano, hadn’t seen the car in the area.
Solano is currently on probation on assault and battery and malicious destruction charges. Because of that, her probation officer asked the judge to hold her in custody until a probation violation hearing.
Judge Matthew Nestor agreed, scheduling the hearing for Nov. 19 and ordering her held at MCI Framingham until then.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.