Quincy Police Department
QUINCY -- Two brothers from Quincy pleaded not guilty today to charges they stole US Representative William R. Keating's aging Lexus from his Quincy home early this morning.
Christopher J. Babij, 25, and his 20-year-old brother, Kenneth Babij, were arrested by Quincy police while still inside Keating’s Lexus about 10 minutes after he reported it stolen around 2:45 a.m. today.
The brothers appeared in Quincy District Court where Kenneth Babij was sent to Bridgewater State Hospital for a substance abuse evaluation after a court clinician reported that he is using three grams of heroin daily using hypodermic needles. He also faces drug charges in Wareham District Court.
His older brother, Christopher, was ordered held on $2,500 cash bail. His attorney, Sheila Murphy, said in court that her client has a criminal history but only for non-violent crimes.
Keating is a Democrat who moved to Quincy from Sharon when he sought the 10th Congressional District seat. Sharon is not in the district.
In a telephone interview from Washington this afternoon, Keating said he was wakened by the sound of a car’s ignition at about 3 a.m. He said he initially believed the noise came from a neighbor’s home.
But, spurred by curiosity, he said he decided to look outside.
“I just popped the blinds and there was an empty space where the car was before,’’ Keating said. He said the car was a 2001 Lexus RX300 used by his wife. “I grabbed the phone and called 911.’’
Keating said he provided police with information about his car.
About six minutes later, when a marked cruiser showed up to take a written report, the officer heard a radio transmission that Keating’s car had been found and two suspects were in custody.
Keating said the alleged thieves did not break a window to get into the vehicle.
“There was no damage because they didn’t have to smash and grab – the door was open,’’ he said.
Once they were inside the vehicle, Keating said, the thieves did not have to hotwire the car, either.
“The keys were accessible, unfortunately,’’ he said. “That’s another lesson learned.’’
Keating said he has no plans to move back to Sharon.
“No. No. No. It’s safe,'' he said. "Quincy is safe and the police were great.''
After recovering his car in Quincy, Keating boarded a flight for Washington.
Keating noted the theft of his car is not the first time he has had personal contact with crime. While Norfolk district attorney, Keating helped chase down a purse snatcher. He said he also once awoke to State Police searching his Sharon backyard for evidence dropped by a car theft suspect.
“These things happen in real life and we should just be grateful the police are there to help us,’’ Keating said.
Quincy Police Captain John Dougan said Keating called 911 at around 2:45 a.m. and provided police with information about the black Lexus. Moments later, police broadcast a “BOLO” – be on the lookout – advising officers to keep an eye out for Keating’s car.
Dougan said officers on Hancock Street spotted the car and began following it. Another marked cruiser joined in, but the officers did not activate their blue lights or initiate a pursuit.
Instead, with the cruisers still trailing behind, the man driving Keating’s car pulled into the McDonald’s restaurant on Hancock Street where cruisers boxed the vehicle in, Dougan said.
Ordered out of the vehicle,Christopher Babij allegedly demanded to know why he was being arrested. Babij was asked who owned the car, and he allegedly replied, “It’s a rental,'' Dougan said.
Kenneth Babij was a passenger, police said.
Dougan said Keating took his car home early today.
In a statement, Keating noted he had worked with the Quincy police during the 12 years he was Norfolk County’s prosecutor.
“I am very impressed with them as a resident relying on their services,’’ Keating said in the statement. “When I called the police to report that my car had been stolen, they apprehended the suspects within minutes. Their quick work should be commended.’’
He also said he was confident his successor, Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey would prosecute the case efficiently.
On the beat
Columnist Adrian Walker says UMass Dartmouth is shaken after revelations that one of the Marathon bomb suspects was a student there. Read more