SALEM — A Salem man charged with barging into his ex-girlfriend's home and threatening her, then playing cat and mouse with police in a series of attempted traffic stops late Friday and early Saturday, expressed regret to a judge on Monday.
"It would have been a lot easier if you had just stopped, rather than go through this whole thing," Judge Randy Chapman told Victor Pimentel, 27.
"Yeah, I know," Pimentel responded from the holding dock in Salem District Court.
That's where Pimentel, of 10 Peabody St., Salem, was arraigned on a lengthy string of charges including larceny of a motor vehicle, receiving a stolen motor vehicle, failing to stop for police, numerous traffic violations and breaking and entering. Pleas of not guilty were entered on his behalf.
Prosecutor Michael Varone told the judge that police first received a complaint about Pimentel Friday evening, when they were called to an address on Bryant Avenue by his former girlfriend and her mother.
Pimentel had apparently shown up, walked in through an unlocked door, and marched up to the young woman's bedroom, where he told her, "I'm going to break your phone and then I'm going to break your face," the prosecutor said.
He then threatened to smash the woman's car, said the prosecutor.
Police took a report and got an arrest warrant.
A while later, shortly after 1 a.m. Saturday, police were called back to the area for a report of a "suspicious" vehicle on the street, where the driver, later identified as Pimentel, was revving the engine and squealing the tires of a car he allegedly had taken from a cousin.
When officers attempted to pull him over, Pimentel sped off, traveling through several side streets in north Salem at speeds estimated at 50 mph. Police backed off the chase when Pimentel decided to go around several stopped vehicles on Mason Street.
Police would spot the same vehicle again on Canal Street, where the driver again took off. They finally caught up with Pimentel shortly after 7 a.m. on Broadway, where he was arrested.
By this time, Pimentel's cousin had reported the car as stolen, Varone said.
Pimentel later admitted that he didn't want to be arrested and said he was "scared." He told the officers he was just trying to get his former girlfriend's attention.
His lawyer, Kevin Prendergast, told the judge that Pimentel is a lifelong Salem resident with a minor record involving just one case that was continued without a finding. All of Pimentel's other cases were dismissed, Prendergast said.
He also told the judge that Pimentel was over-charged, saying the case is more of a "use of a motor vehicle without authority" than a car theft. Varone acknowledged that prosecutors will have to evaluate the evidence in the case, given that they cannot prosecute someone both for larceny of a vehicle and receiving a stolen vehicle.
Chapman set bail at a total of $700 on the two cases. A pre-trial hearing is scheduled for Jan. 2.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at email@example.com or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis.