Samuel Goldberg has been a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney for 20 years. Prior to that, he was a New York state prosecutor. He has published various articles regarding the practice of criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on outlets such as the Fox News Channel, Court TV, MSNBC and The BBC Network. To speak to Sam about a criminal matter call (617) 492 3000.

Boston-Area Burglary Spree Comes To An End

In case all the reports of white collar crimes and pop icons assaulting each other, do not get the idea that plain everyday crimes like Massachusetts Breaking and Entering, aka the felony of Burglary, do not happen anymore. In fact, Steven M., 47, of Boston (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) is facing the music for a string of break-ins right now.

The Defendant is believed to be responsible for a string of home break-ins throughout the winter. Learning that the Brookline Police Department had issued a warrant for his arrest, he turned himself in last week.

The turning point in the investigation? DNA evidence.

Police got the DNA in December after a detective investigating the recent rash of break-ins saw someone walking down Winchester Street disappear down an alleyway to go behind a Fuller Street apartment complex, the scene of recent break-ins. The officer then observed the Defendant allegedly trying to stuff a flat screen TV into a duffel bag. He ordered the Defendant out of the area and he reportedly fled.

But he left the duffel bag behind.

Inside the bag, police found a pair of gloves and sent them to the Boston Crime Lab for analysis.

The DNA on the gloves reportedly matched DNA on a pair of gloves found at a break-in at 12 Fuller St. in March.

The police believe the Defendant is responsible for various break-ins that happened during this winter, and occurred between 4 and 8 p.m. They all involved unlocked windows as points of entry, and targeting flat screen TVs, computers and other small items.

Presently, the Defendant is being charged with two counts of breaking and entering and one count of receiving stolen property, police said. However, he is linked to 22 house break-ins from November 2008 to March 2009 so additional charges are likely to come.

Attorney Sam’s Take:

If the Defendant had kept the duffel bag, there would have been an suppression issue if the police searched it. However, the law recognizes the theory of “abandonment”. According to the police, this bag was abandoned and so the Defendant relinquished any expectation of privacy as to its contents.

End of story? Not necessarily.

If the Defendant can show that the police forced him to leave the bag behind, or actually grabbed it out of his hands, the contents could be suppressed. If the contents are suppressed, the DNA evidence cannot be used by the Commonwealth.

In the meantime, this tale reminds us that investigations can be “high-tech” these days, including things like DNA. These investigations continue, often without the knowledge of the soon-to-be-defendant. For example, what if the DNA linked someone else to the break-ins? That person would likely be totally taken by surprise finding himself facing the Commonwealth Bracelets of Shame.

The laws regarding burglary and similar theft-related crimes can be a bit complicated. For example, there are different crimes for breaking into a home than a business. There are different penalties depending on whether the home invasion takes place during the day or during the night.

One thing the Defendant did right, though, was to surrender himself to the warrant rather than waiting for the police to come and get him. This likely helped during the bail argument.

All these considerations point to one bottom line. Namely, if you have reason to believe that there is an investigation, or even a warrant, pending with your name on it, the best thing you can do for yourself is retain a defense attorney who is experienced in dealing with these types of issues.

The full article of this story can be found at http://www.wickedlocal.com/brookline/news/police_and_fire/x110654111/Boston-man-arrested-for-winter-break-in-spree-in-Brookline

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