- If visiting multiple stores, store your bags in the trunk of your car. If you must store them in the passenger compartment, make every effort to keep them out of sight.
- Be aware of loiterers near your vehicle. If you have any concerns, return to the store and ask to be escorted. Park your vehicle in a well-lit area that is populated by fellow shoppers.
- Consider using a credit card and not a debit card when shopping online. Federal law limits your liability to $50 if your credit card is used fraudulently. Also, only carry the amount of cash you expect to use when shopping in stores as thieves are on the look-out for people holding large amounts of money.
- Consumers are typically in a generous mood and often distracted during the holidays. Be leery of strangers approaching you asking for something that may ordinarily raise suspicions. A favorite holiday scam involves someone approaching you in a parking lot with a gas can looking to "borrow" some money for gas. Mall or department store security is better equipped to handle stranded motorists.
- Keep trees away from heat sources and be sure to water your tree daily.
- Never leave a lit tree unattended and use only fire retardant decorations.
- Use a “non-tip” style tree stand.
- Dispose of your tree properly, soon after the holidays, before the needles dry out.
- Never hang lights on a metallic tree.
- Check all lighting for frayed wires, broken plugs, and sockets and never overload outlets. Use no more than three strands of lights on a single extension cord.
- Never use candles on trees, near live or other flammable decorations, and be sure to never leave candles burning unattended.
- Consider buying new energy efficient LED lights that don't get as hot and always use appropriate weatherproof lights outdoors.
- Make sure grills and outdoor cookware are not used indoors.
About 85 middle school students in Middlesex County were honored for their leadership, judgment, and decision-making -- especially when it came to avoiding drugs and alcohol -- at an annual peer leadership conference hosted by the Middlesex District Attorney's office.
The conference, which was also hosted by nonprofit Middlesex Partnerships for Youth and the Massachusetts Interscholastic Association, was held Monday at the Nashoba Valley Technical High School in Westford. Students from nine local schools who were chosen as role models by school officials were recognized at the event, according to a statement from the district attorney's office.
The nine school districts include Bedford, Dover-Sherborn, Groton-Dunstable, Littleton, Lowell, Reading, Somerville, Weston, and Wilmington.
The event included a keynote address by Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan, and a presentation by Interscholastic Association's "You Lead" program that supports and connects resources for young people choosing not to use drugs, drink alcohol or smoke tobacco.
“Our youth are under a tremendous amount of pressure whether it to be to fit in with their peers or to be academically or athletically successful,” Ryan said in the statement. “It is refreshing to see these youth who have made good choices in their lives and are committed to healthy living.
"This program is about supporting those who exhibit the confidence, maturity and strength to make positive decisions everyday and to help them continue to be a role model in their community.”
A similar event will be held next month for high school students, officials said.
For more information, visit the Middlesex District Attorney's website.
This press release was provided by the Middlesex District Attorney's office
A Lowell woman pleaded guilty Friday to violently attacking a woman with a hammer, leaving the victim with permanent injuries, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan announced today.
Jessica Garcia, 35, pleaded guilty in Middlesex Superior Court in Lowell to charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon causing serious bodily injury, assault with intent to murder, and larceny over $250. Middlesex Superior Court Judge David Ricciardone sentenced the defendant to nine to 11 years in state prison with three years probation from and after her prison sentence with conditions of no use of drugs or alcohol, submission to random drug and alcohol screenings, wearing a GPS monitor for the first year, substance abuse evaluation and follow up, mental health evaluation and follow up, and stay away and no contact with the victim. The prison sentence is to be served from and after a sentence the defendant is currently serving on an unrelated case.
“This senseless act of violence was the result of the defendant’s determination to force the victim to provide her with money,” District Attorney Ryan said. “Although this phase of the case is now complete, the victim continues to suffer from the long term effects of her injuries.”
According to authorities at 6:49 a.m. on June 17, 2012 police responded to an apartment building at 220 Branch Street in Lowell where they discovered the 41-year-old victim on the floor suffering from severe head wounds. A hammer covered in blood was found near the victim. The victim had sustained multiple injuries to her head, face and neck from the claw end of the hammer. She was med-flighted to Massachusetts General Hospital for treatment.
The victim survived the attack but suffered permanent injuries, including needing a steel plate in her jaw and several scars on her face, neck and head. She also suffered two strokes.
An investigation was immediately launched by Lowell Police. The investigation revealed that Garcia and the victim were acquaintances and had been in the apartment together. An argument between the two ensued, and the victim grabbed the hammer to defend herself when the defendant took it from her and began violently and repeatedly hitting the victim with the claw side. The defendant demanded the victim’s ATM card and PIN number and threatened to kill the victim if she did not give her the correct PIN number.
The defendant fled the scene. She was later seen on bank surveillance attempting to use the victim’s ATM card. Based on additional evidence and interviews with witnesses, the defendant was arrested June 17, 2012.
She was arraigned June 18, 2012 in Lowell District Court where Judge Tobin Harvey ordered her held on $250,000 cash bail and revoked her bail on two additional open cases in Lowell District Court.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Ryan Sullivan. The Victim Witness Advocate was Kathleen Keefe.
The following was submitted by the University of Massachusetts Lowell:
Wednesday, Oct. 23
1 to 4 p.m.
WHAT: More than 150 recruiters from virtually every sector of the business world will meet with qualified, energetic UMass Lowell students searching for part- and full-time jobs, internships and co-ops at the university’s largest career fair to date.
Whether they are looking to land a job in fields such as health care, business and financial management, the defense industry, public education, social services, the arts, robotics, medical or computer technology, more than 1,000 students will be ready – resumes in hand – to share their skills and ambitions with prospective employers.
Come talk to students about their career hopes and goals and meet with representatives of companies from iRobot to IBM, Raytheon to Radio Disney, about why they value UMass Lowell students as job candidates and employees and how they assess the current employment market.
To prepare for the fair, many students have already attended interview-skills and resume-writing workshops through UMass Lowell’s Career Services and Cooperative Education Center, which hosts the fair. UMass Lowell representatives will be available to discuss how the university cultivates industry partnerships to help students gain real-world experience and establish their careers after graduation. Note: The fair is not open to the public but media may attend.
WHERE: Campus Recreation Center, East Campus, 100 Pawtucket St., Lowell. Contact UMass Lowell media relations for directions and parking information.
- Matthew Bailey, of Cambridge, is a graduate of Boston University School of Law and is assigned to the Framingham District Court.
- Veronica Carlino, of Stoneham, is a graduate of New England Law and is assigned to the Malden District Court.
- Shaun Donnelly, of Boston, is a graduate of Boston University Law School and is assigned to the Woburn District Court.
- Caitlin Gemmill, of Brighton, is a graduate of Boston University Law School and is assigned to the Somerville District Court.
- Lisa Labresh, of Beverly, is a graduate of New England Law and is assigned to the Cambridge District Court.
- Megan McFadden, of Charlottesville, Va., is a graduate of University of Virginia School of Law. She is serving a one year fellowship with the office before joining Ropes and Gray. She is assigned to the Malden District Court.
- Laura Montes, of Brookline, is a graduate of Northeastern University School of Law and is assigned to the Framingham District Court.
- Kelly Norton, of Malden, is a graduate of Suffolk University School of Law and is assigned to the Lowell District Court.
- John Rapone, of Boston, is a graduate of Suffolk University Law School and is assigned to the Somerville District Court.
- Whitney Williams, of Marlborough, is a graduate of Boston College Law School and is assigned to the Lowell District Court.
This press release was provided by the Middlesex district Attorney's office
A Middlesex Superior Court jury has found Walter Shelley, 61, of Tewksbury, guilty for the murder of John McCabe, 15, who was strangled to death in 1969, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan announced today.
Shelley was found guilty today of murder and witness intimidation in Lowell Superior Court. Middlesex Superior Court Judge Janet Kenton-Walker scheduled sentencing for October 29 at 2:00pm in Lowell Superior Court. Due to the fact that the defendant was 17 years old when he committed this crime, his sentencing is subject to the hearing requirements currently in effect for defendants who are under the age of 18 at the time of the commission of their crime. It is expected that that hearing and other post-conviction motions regarding sentencing will occur at the next court date.
“More than 40 years ago, this defendant was part of a group of young men who abducted, bound and left to die 5’5” 115 pound 15-year-old John McCabe as he walked home from a town dance,” District Attorney Ryan said.
“This has been a long, difficult, and emotional process for everyone involved. In addition to suffering an excruciating loss, the McCabe family has waited more than 4 decades for this jury’s verdict. My wish is that it provides some peace for them as well as hope for the families of other victims in unsolved homicide cases that they, too, may see justice in the legal arena one day.
I commend the dedicated law enforcement team, including the Lowell Police Department, the Tewksbury Police Department and Massachusetts State Police, that never gave up on this case, working tirelessly to solve this crime and obtain justice for John and his family.
In all unsolved homicides, we remain steadfast in our commitment to actively pursue every lead and employ every new technological advance, wherever appropriate, to bring charges and to hold defendants accountable.”
According to authorities, at approximately 9:45am on September 27, 1969, Lowell Police responded to a vacant field off Maple Street in Lowell for reports of the discovery of a male victim, obviously deceased. The victim, 15-year-old John Joseph McCabe, of Tewksbury, was bound with rope, with his eyes and mouth taped shut. The cause of death was determined to be asphyxia due to strangulation.
Authorities launched an immediate investigation into the circumstances of McCabe’s death. They learned that McCabe had disappeared after leaving a dance at the Knights of Columbus in Tewksbury and was reported missing by his parents when he did not return home.
For more than 40 years, authorities pursued the investigation and in 2011 evidence developed that led them to charge three defendants, including Shelley, with murder.
Authorities determined that the three men abducted the victim, held him in a car against his will and assaulted him on September 27, 1969. Shelley drove the car to Maple Street in Lowell where they left the victim, bound and gagged, to die in a vacant field.
Co-defendant Michael Ferreira was found not guilty following a jury trial in January 2013. Ferreira still faces ongoing litigation over a perjury charge in a companion case. Co-defendant Edward Allen Brown has entered a plea agreement with the Commonwealth and will plead guilty to a charge of manslaughter at a future date.
The prosecutors assigned to the case were Assistant District Attorneys Tom O’Reilly, Elisha Willis and James Kerr. The Victim Witness Advocate was Dora Quiroz. The Paralegal was Erika Willey.
This press release was provided by the Middlesex District Attorney's Office
A Tyngsboro man has pleaded guilty to stabbing a Lowell woman, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan informed the public today.
Peter Yates, 62, of Tyngsboro, pleaded guilty on Tuesday afternoon to charges of armed assault with the intent to murder, home invasion, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon causing serious bodily injury and assault and battery.
Middlesex Superior Court Judge Janet Kenton-Walker sentenced the defendant to 9-10 years in prison on the armed assault to murder and the assault and battery with a dangerous weapon causing serious bodily injury charges, and 2 ½ years in jail on the assault and battery charge, all to run concurrent with one another. The defendant was also sentenced to 5 years of probation on the home invasion charge to begin after the prison sentence, with the conditions that he stay away and have no contact with the victim and her family, undergo an alcohol evaluation and follow up treatment, and a mental health evaluation and follow up treatment, have no alcohol, undergo screens for alcohol, and be subject to GPS monitoring.
“The defendant brutally attacked the victim because she told him she didn’t want a relationship with him any longer,” District Attorney Ryan said. “Domestic violence is about power and control and it occurs across all socio-economic boundaries, gender and age groups. This defendant perceived that he was losing control and lashed out in a rage, seriously injuring the victim, and has now been held accountable for his actions.”
On Sunday, September 16, 2012 at approximately 8:00 p.m., Lowell police responded to 517 Chelmsford Street for a report of a stabbing. When they arrived, they found the victim, a 50-year-old woman, collapsed on the front lawn, bleeding and evidencing obvious stab wounds. She was transported to Brigham and Women’s Hospital where she underwent emergency surgery to repair a severed vein and a punctured artery.
Lowell Police and State Police assigned to the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office immediately initiated an investigation into the circumstances of the stabbing. They learned that the victim and the defendant had been friends for some time and then briefly dated that summer.
On September 16, 2012 the victim sent the defendant an email telling him not to contact her or her family. That evening, the defendant showed up at the victim’s house and demanded to speak with her. She would not let him in the house, but agreed to speak with him. As they stood outside, the defendant reached into his truck and pulled out a knife and stabbed her in the chest. As the victim tried to run away, the defendant chased her to the house. He broke into the house and began to hit the victim over the head as she tried to call 911 for help. She ran from the house and collapsed where police later found her. The defendant was arrested at the scene.
The prosecutors assigned to this case were Assistant District Attorney Gina Kwon and Assistant District Attorney Kristen Noto. The Victim Witness Advocate was Dora Quiroz.
This press release was provided by the Middlesex District Attorney's office
A convicted drug dealer, who was found guilty and deemed a habitual offender, will serve 10 years in state prison for continuing to distribute illegal drugs, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan announced today.
Oscar Lopez, 62, of Lowell, was found guilty as a habitual offender on charges of possession with intent to distribute heroin and a drug violation in a school zone following a bench trial in Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn. Middlesex Superior Court Judge Douglas H. Wilkins sentenced the defendant to 10 years in state prison with an additional two years in the House of Correction, to be served after the state prison sentence.
“This is an important verdict which removes a drug supplier from the city of Lowell,” District Attorney Ryan said. “Illegal drug use continues to plague our communities and by working together we can continue to fully prosecute these criminals and stop the flow of dangerous, deadly drugs on our streets.”
The case was investigated by the Lowell Police Department.
On July 5, 2012, police executed a search warrant at 657 Merrimack St. #714, which was known to be the residence of Oscar Lopez. During the execution of the search warrant police discovered more than a dozen small plastic bags containing a brown powdery substance in the toilet and kitchen as well as items consistent with the distribution and sale of illegal drugs. The defendant and a co-defendant were believed to be packaging heroin for distribution when police arrived.
The brown substance was tested at the State Police Crime Lab and determined to be heroin. Based on the defendant’s prior convictions, he was charged as a habitual offender.
A co-defendant in this case, Wanda Bracetty, 49, of Lowell, pleaded guilty May 28, 2013 to a charge of possession with intent to distribute heroin and was sentenced to 3 years to 3 years and 1 day in state prison.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Ryan Sullivan and Gina Kwon.