EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


September 21, 2013

Police: Man stole purse, car as he leaves hospital

Thefts from workers come after his diabetes treatment

HAVERHILL — Walter Vitalone Jr. apparently received good care at Merrimack Valley Hospital, but didn’t show much gratitude when he was discharged, police said.

They said Vitalone, 25, took a hospital volunteer’s pocketbook as he walked out of the building, then broke into two cars and stole a third car in the parking lot.

When one of the stolen car’s tires went flat in the lot, he tried to run away, but officers caught him as he tried to climb over a fence, police said. A witness photographed Vitalone breaking into one of the vehicles, police said.

According to police reports, Vitalone was in the hospital receiving treatment for complications related to diabetes. When he was released from the hospital on Tuesday, he went on the stealing spree, police said.

Vitalone of 43 Varnum St. is charged with larceny of a motor vehicle, larceny from a motor vehicle under $250, larceny from a motor vehicle over $250, disorderly conduct, wanton destruction of property under $250 and resisting arrest.

He was arraigned on the charges in Haverhill District Court.

Assistant District Attorney John DePaulo said one of Vitalone’s victims told police her pocketbook was stolen while Vitalone at the hospital.

“He stuck her pocketbook in his hospital discharge bag,” DePaulo said.

Another victim told police the baseball cap Vitalone was wearing when he was arrested was taken from her car, while another victim said the $200 she had in her car’s glove compartment was missing.

“This is somebody with a bad drug problem,” DePaulo said.

DePaulo told the court that Vitalone has a “brutal record” of criminal offenses, while Vitalone’s defense lawyer, Joseph Gannon, said past charges against him were all dismissed.

Judge Stephen Abany ordered Vitalone held on $10,000 cash bail, and told him he has the right to a bail review in Essex Superior Court. The judge also issued Vitalone a 60-day warning, meaning if he charged with another offense while his case is pending he could be held for up to 60 days without bail.

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