EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

February 1, 2014

Men accused in store robberies held without bail

Judge refuses request for house arrest, electronic bracelets

By Mike LaBella

---- — HAVERHILL — Two of three people charged in a series of store robberies were ordered held without bail, despite their lawyers’ pleas for release under house arrest and electronic monitoring.

The third suspect, a woman, was unable to attend yesterday’s hearing in Haverhill District Court because she had some kind of an emergency at MCI Framingham, where she continues to be held, officials said.

Judge Stephen Abany ordered Matthew Clougherty, 19, and Shaine Valido, 30, held without bail pending probable cause hearings scheduled for March 7.

Assistant District Attorney Tom Sholds referred to the actions of Clougherty and Valido as a “textbook case” for considering them a danger to society and justifying them being held without bail.

“These two were terrorizing the city of Haverhill for a period of about a month,” Sholds said.

Clougherty was arraigned Monday in Haverhill District Court on two counts of armed robbery. He was ordered held without bail pending yesterday’s hearing.

Valido, of 49 Varnum St. and Cristina Gatzimas, 32, of 93 Evergreen Drive, were arraigned Wednesday in Haverhill District Court on charges of armed robbery and were also ordered held without bail pending yesterday’s hearing.

After Gatzimas’ emergency at the women’s prison yesterday, her dangerousness hearing is expected to be rescheduled. A dangerousness hearing determines whether suspects will continue to be held as potential dangers to society or will be released on bail.

During yesterday’s hearings, Clougherty’s lawyer, John Morris, said Clougherty has no adult court record and asked that he be released on conditions that would ensure the safety of the public, such as electronic monitoring and random drug screens. He also asked that Clougherty be involved in a job search.

“He tells me he never really worked and maybe that’s part of the problem,” Morris said.

Sholds responded by saying Clougherty has an adult record in New Hampshire, which he said includes “thefts and crimes of that nature.”

Valido’s lawyer, Geoffrey DuBosque, also asked for conditions of release, such as house arrest. He said Valido’s has a limited court record that mostly involves motor vehicle offenses.

“His mother and father are here today and are extremely distraught,” DuBosque said, noting that Valido has “strong ties to the community.”

Investigators said the three people charged sometimes acted together in a series of four armed robberies during the last two months and other times acted alone.

Clougherty, who police said was living with family members in Haverhill, surrendered to police last Saturday, after officers obtained a warrant for his arrest in connection to the Dec. 9 robbery of the Quik Mart store, 764 Main St. He was also charged with the Jan. 22 robbery of the American Grocery store at 426 Main St., where he made his get-away in Gatzimas’ gray Honda, which was driven by Valido, according to statements Clougherty made to police.

Clougherty was also charged with the armed robbery of Quality Liquors at 185 S. Elm St. Police said he entered the store on Jan. 21 at 11:15 a.m., and asked for cigarettes. He then showed a knife and demanded money, police said. He ran from the store with cash, police said.

Police have charged Valido and Gatzimas with taking part in the Jan. 22 robbery of American Grocery.

As a result of the American Grocery arrests and investigation, police also charged Valido with the armed robbery of Quality Liquors on Christmas Eve. Valido is charged with armed robbery, armed robbery while masked, carrying a firearm without a license, and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. Police said he struck the head of a man who was inside the liquor store and then took money and a bottle of Courvoisier Cognac from the clerk.

According to a police report on file in Haverhill District Court, Clougherty told investigators that he has a bad heroin habit, that he snorts the drug because he doesn’t like needles, and that he did the robberies because he was “dope sick” and needed money for drugs.

Investigators said Clougherty also told them that Valido pushed him to “man up” and do something to get drugs. Clougherty denied robbing Quality Liquors and said it was Valido who robbed that store twice, police said.

Police said Clougherty told them that Valido and Gatzimas are also addicted to drugs. He said Valido was driving Gatzimas’ gray Honda and Gatzimas was in the back seat when they dropped him off on 7th Avenue then walked into American Grocery and robbed it, according to police. He said he walked back to 7th Avenue to the waiting car and they all drove away, police said. According to police, Clougherty said they bought “dope” with the money and went back to Gatzimas’ apartment to use the drugs.

Police said Clougherty told them that on Dec. 9, he used a pellet gun to rob the Quik Mart store on Main Street, and that Gatzimas drove him there in her car. He said he tossed the pellet gun near the Dollar Store opposite the Quik Mart and then met up with Gatzimas, who was parked on a side street, according to police. Clougherty told police they then drove to Lawrence, where they bought some drugs, according to police reports.