EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 4, 2012

Man accused of using knife in robbery held

By Mike LaBella mlabella@eagletribune.com
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — HAVERHILL — A man who police say used a switchblade robbed EZ-Way Cleaners on White Street last November wrote a letter to police in May, saying he was being held at a jail in Manchester, N.H.

As a result, he is now being held at the Middleton House of Correction.

Police in Haverhill charged Ryan Beckford, 25, formerly of 36 Vine St., unit 16, with armed robbery and attempt to commit a crime in connection with the robbery that took place Nov. 23, 2011. Beckford was arraigned on the charges Tuesday in Haverhill District Court, where Judge Patricia Dowling ordered him held on $5,000 cash bail.

In an affidavit dated May 8, Beckford told police that he wanted to surrender on a pending warrant for armed robbery.

“I am currently incarcerated in Manchester, N.H. and would like to resolve this matter so it does not effect my release at the end of September,” Beckford said in the affidavit.

Police issued a warrant for his arrest on March 19, following an investigation. Beckford was transported from the New Hampshire jail to Haverhill on Tuesday for his arraignment on the charges.

Police said that on the afternoon of Nov. 23, Beckford entered the EZ-Way Cleaners at 143 White St., pointed a switchblade knife at a female employee and told her to “get behind the counter and give me the money.” Police said the woman took all of the cash out of the register, a total of $180, and gave it to Beckford, who then walked out the door.

According to a police report on file in Haverhill District Court, the female employee told police that a few minutes before the robbery, a woman entered the cleaners pushing a baby carriage with items inside it, but no baby. She asked what time the store was to close, and then left, the report said.

On Nov. 30, police arrested Beckford and his girlfriend on oustanding warrants at their 36 Vine St. apartment. Police said the couple had a 7-month-old baby girl at the time. Beckford’s girlfriend told police that she and Beckford were addicted to heroin and cocaine and that Beckford worked during the day and she collected assistance from the state, according to a police report. She also told police she often steals to support her habit, the report said. Information about the result of their arrests on the warrants was not available at the time of this report.

Beckford’s girlfriend told police that on the day of the robbery, a woman who often dropped by her apartment to share their money, buy drugs and do drugs had just received her food stamps for the month and the two of them went grocery shopping. After returning from the market she let the woman use her baby carriage to transport the groceries to her apartment on Portland Street, according to a police report.

Beckford’s girlfriend also told police that Beckford later returned to their Vine Street apartment with money and that evening he paid $120 to a drug dealer for what they had charged that week. She said Beckford sometimes gets violent with her and that she has been trying to get into detox but doesn’t have anyone to watch her daughter.

Police said that on Dec. 7, the woman who pushed the baby carriage into the cleaners voluntarily met with investigators and told them she had stopped in to ask if the store would clean her suit in one day so she could have it for a court appearance after her arrest for prostitution.

On March 9 of this year, police met with the woman again, only this time it was at MCI Framingham where she was being held. She told police that Beckford had talked about robbing the EZ-Way Cleaners to get money for drugs. This time she told police that she had stopped by the cleaners to see who was working there so she could inform Beckford. She said she went to Beckford’s apartment to tell him, but he told her he’d just robbed the business, police said. She told police they bought drugs with the money and that she, Beckford and his girlfriend all got high together.

On March 16, police questioned Beckford’s girlfriend again. She said that after robbing the EZ-Way Cleaners, Beckford tried to rob the Red Pepper Restaurant on White Street but that the owner pointed a gun at him and he ran away before police arrived.