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'Puppy Doe' suspect may have stolen $200k from Quincy woman, prosecutors say

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  December 19, 2013 04:05 PM

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Signs supporting "Puppy Doe" were displayed outside Norfolk Superior Court in Dedham. (Photo by Jessica Bartlett)


The man accused of torturing a dog in Quincy also may have stolen more than $200,000 from the woman for whom he was working as a caretaker, prosecutors said in court Thursday.

Radoslaw Czerkawski, 32, from Poland, appeared in Norfolk Superior Court to answer again to 12 counts of animal cruelty and one charge of misleading a police investigation. He was held without bail and will be due back in court on Feb. 11.

During the proceeding, Assistant District Attorney Tracey Cusick said an investigation is ongoing into whether Czerkawski stole money from the elderly woman.

“As a result of this investigation as to what happened with this dog, there is a separate investigation as to the defendant’s involvement of the financial affairs of the [95-year-old] woman he was caring for,” Cusick told the courtroom on Thursday.

The woman was identified only as "JS" during the court session, but Quincy police reports have identified her as Janina Stock.

Czerkawski lived with the elderly woman in Quincy at the time of the alleged animal abuse, police reports say. According to Cusick, Czerkawski was hired to take care of the woman because they both spoke Polish.

Cusick said police found the elderly woman’s passport, jewelry, bank papers and receipts with Czerkawski’s when he was arrested.

Bank statements and canceled checks showed that approximately $100,000 in checks made out to the elderly women were deposited to a joint account of the suspect and the woman.

“The defendant took the woman to the bank and presented her as his grandmother,” Cusick said.

Cusick said Czerkawski had deposited $50,000 of the money to another account only in his name. Statements found in the car showed he made several cash withdrawals from the account, Cusick said.

Czerkawski also allegedly took over $100,000 in savings bonds belonging to the woman, Cusick said, some of which had been redeemed at banks.

To date, the Commonwealth has only located half of the money known to be missing, Cusick said. Czerkawski has not been charged with stealing money, but Cusick said there may be additional charges in the future.

Czerkawski's lawyer, John Gibbons, said later in the session that he expected additional charges to be filed.

Separately, Czerkawski is facing larceny charges for allegedly stealing $6,000 from a New Bedford church. He has not been arraigned on those charges, Cusick said.

In late October, Czerkawski appeared in Quincy District Court to face the charges of animal cruelty and misleading a police investigation. Last month he was indicted by a grand jury, moving the case to Superior Court.

On Thursday, Gibbons again entered a not guilty plea on Czerkawski’s behalf while the suspect leaned in to hear a Polish interpreter.

Cusick clarified that 10 of the animal charges were directly related to the abuse of the dog, including a stab to right eye, two deep thermal injuries to the nose, a cut to tongue, multiple skull fractures, crush fractures to the spine, right front leg injuries, right back leg injuries, shoulder injuries, and fractured ribs.

IMG_5264.jpg“These injuries were separate. There was evidence they were in different stage of healing. There was evidence that they occurred at separate times,” Cusick said.

Another charge related to the starvation of the dog, and another to willful abandonment.

People wearing T-shirts supporting the dog known as "Puppy Doe" sobbed quietly in the courtroom as the injuries were read. Others sat with blank faces and wiped away tears.

Czerkawski faces five years in prison for each cruelty charge, and up to 10 years for misleading police, Cusick said.

Though Gibbons pointed to the suspect’s clean record as a reason for bail to be set, Judge E. Susan Garsh said he was a flight risk due to the high penalties facing him and the fact that he had no ties to Massachusetts.

Additionally, Czerkawski is facing detainment from Immigration and Customs Enforcement as soon as he is released from police custody, Garsh said.

“I find there is no amount of bail that will assured his continued presence,” Garsh said in her decision.

Hoards of supporters for the abused dog came to court to stare down the suspect as he faced the charges. Outside the courtroom, supporters said they were satisfied by the day’s events.

“[I’m] very, very pleased,” said Elana Gerson, head of a group called Kiya’s Angels International. “I’m very pleased [also] because I think our legal system takes financial issues more seriously than animal abuse. God willing, if this isn’t horrific enough, there will be other charges.”

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