Sex offender who was freed because of state drug lab scandal is arrested on suspicion of theft

A convicted sex offender who was released from custody in September because of the scandal at the now-closed state drug lab in Jamaica Plain was arrested Sunday morning on suspicion of stealing 13 watches from a department store, authorities said.

Transit police spotted Luis Quiles, 41, of Boston, and another man on a subway platform at Chinatown Station at around 10:15 a.m., huddled together in what appeared to be an attempt to conceal items from passersby, police said in a statement.

The officers noticed that both men were holding wristwatches with the price tags affixed to them, the statement said, and Quiles admitted to stealing the merchandise from a Macy’s department store.

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Quiles and the other suspect, Jose Correano, 30, also of Boston, were arrested on charges of receiving stolen property.

Quiles was set to plead guilty Sept. 6 to drug distribution charges. However, prosecutors asked for a continuance because Annie Dookhan, the former chemist at the Jamaica Plain lab who allegedly mishandled reams of suspected drug samples, tested the drugs in Quiles’s case.

He pleaded not guilty today at his arraignment in the theft case and was ordered held on $500 cash bail, said Jake Wark, a spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley.

Wark said Quiles is scheduled to return to court on Dec. 10 in that case, and on Dec. 3 in the pending drug case.

Quiles has a lengthy record of convictions for heroin distribution and various assaults, Wark said.

He was also convicted in 1990 of indecent assault and battery on a person aged 14 or over, according to the state’s Sex Offender Registry Board. He is classified as Level 3 sex offender, meaning authorities believe his risk of reoffending is high.