HAVERHILL — A woman used a cell phone text message to trick a man into letting her and a companion into his apartment, police said.
Once inside, the woman's companion hit the man in the head with a handgun and took $3,890 in cash from his apartment, police said.
An investigation into the home invasion has led to criminal charges against three people: The woman who did the text messaging, the gunman and another woman who drove the three of them to the robbery location, police said. The gunman also was wanted as a fugitive by U.S. marshals.
According to a police report on file in Haverhill District Court, the three were involved in a home invasion on the night of Nov. 15 of an apartment in the Cordovan complex at 45 Locust St. Police said William Marcano, 32, used a .45-caliber pistol to threaten a man and a woman in the apartment, struck the man in the back of the head with the gun, and then took the $3,890 in cash, as well as a silver necklace and two cell phones.
The man, who rents the apartment, told police Marcano was accompanied there by Allison Sullivan, 22, of 6 Columbia Park, Unit 8. The victim said he knows Sullivan and that she sent him a text message asking if she could drop by the apartment. She text messaged from outside the apartment building and the man in the apartment buzzed her into the building, police said. The man opened his apartment door to let Sullivan in and Marcano went in with her, police said.
On Tuesday morning, Haverhill police detectives and U.S. marshals arrested Marcano at 24 Atwood Road along with Jennifer Balch, 25, of 144-F Old Ferry Road. Police said the house is owned by Balch's mother and that Balch and Marcano had been dating and had been staying there.
Marcano and Balch were arraigned in Haverhill District Court and were held without bail pending a Dec. 27 dangerousness hearing.
Police charged Marcano with home invasion, possession of ammunition (.45-caliber bullets) without a firearms ID, and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. Police said they found bullets where Marcano was living when they made the arrest, but no gun. Police charged Balch with home invasion, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of a class B substance, Percocet. Police said Balch drove the car in which she, Marcano and Sullivan went to the robbery scene. Police said the pills were in a bottle they found in her pocket.
According to police booking records, Balch works as a personal care attendant for North Shore ARC. Marcano's occupation is not listed. Sullivan's occupational information was unavailable.
Balch's mother said her daughter had been stealing her prescription medication (Percocet) and replacing it with aspirin, according to police. The mother also told police that Balch and Marcano had been staying in a room occupied by the woman's 12-year-old son. Police said Marcano told them he was just leaving his belongings in the room. Officers said they searched the room and found a box with some of Marcano's paperwork, a bag of marijuana (no quantity listed in the police report) and a scale. They said they also found two gun holsters and five rounds of .45-caliber ammunition. Marcano also had a wallet containing $439 in cash, which officers seized, police said.
During his booking at the police station, Marcano told police he had sold the gun on the street because he needed money.
Sullivan set the home invasion in motion. Police arrested her on Nov. 22 on a home invasion warrant. She was arraigned the following day in Haverhill District Court and ordered held on $7,500 cash bail. She must appear Dec. 22 for a probable cause hearing.
The male victim told police he knew Sullivan and that on the night of Nov. 15 she had sent him a text message saying she was outside his apartment building and wanted to drop in. The man told police that he thought Suillivan was alone. He said Sullivan and Marcano entered the apartment and then Marcano pointed a stainless steel handgun at him while bragging it was a.45-caliber semiautomatic pistol. He said Marcano demanded money, struck him in the head with the gun, and told him he was "crazy" and that he "meant business."
The man told police he was forced to give Marcano $3,000 that was in his apartment and that Marcano then ransacked his bedroom and found another $890.
The man told police that Marcano ordered him, his female guest, who is a coworker, and Sullivan to lie facedown on a bed and to count to 100 out loud while Marcano left. The man told police that Sullivan pretended to be surprised that Marcano ordered her to lie down along with the man and woman, but that she was a poor actor.
According to the police report, Sullivan said Balch had called her that night looking for marijuana. Sullivan said she had walked from her house on Columbia Park to Dudley Street, where she met Marcano, then was picked up by Balch and driven to the Cordovan apartment complex. Sullivan told police she had contacted the victim and had arranged to buy marijuana. She said Marcano told her to introduce him as Joey and that she was in fear of Marcano.