EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 8, 2012

City man charged in thefts from house next-door

Police: He hid stolen electronics, jewelry in girlfriend's apartment

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

---- — HAVERHILL — A Haverhill man was arrested in Groveland and charged with breaking into a home and then stashing the stolen goods in a home next door where he was staying.

Police said the man told them he has a “very bad crack cocaine problem” and that he “only becomes bad when he is on drugs.” Police said the daughter of a woman living in the home next-door said she discovered several items in the house that did not belong there. They were stolen from the other house, police said.

Mark Nici, 44, of 63 Kathy Drive, Haverhill, was arrested Wednesday in Groveland after an investigation into a house break that occurred a short time earlier at a home on Gardner Street. Police said the break happened sometime between 9:30 a.m., when an electrician who stopped by the home to speak to the owner saw Nici in the back yard, as did a neighbor, and about 10:15 a.m., when one of the home’s residents returned.

Groveland Detective James Morton, who investigated the break with the help of Patrolmen Eric Gorski and Josh Sindoni, said in his report that Nici was an inmate at Middleton jail when Morton worked there as a correctional officer. Morton said he remembered Nici had a long criminal record that included “96 entries.”

Police said that after entering the Gardner Street home through a window, Nici stole two 42-inch LCD TVs, two Sony Playstation video game consoles, and various pieces of jewelry including a $1,200 bracelet, a $4,000 gold necklace and a $1,200 wristwatch. Investigators found pry marks on a rear door, which they believe Nici used to exit the home with the stolen items.

Police said Nici also took a pillow case from the home and used it to carry out smaller items he took. He also took a sheet from a bed, police said, and used it to cover one of the two flat screen TVs that he stashed behind a couch in the apartment he was living in next door with his girlfriend.

According to Morton’s seven-page report on the break, when Gorski and Sindoni went to the apartment Nici was living in, he was hiding and would not respond to the door. Police learned there was an active warrant out against him, and when he eventually came to the door, he was arrested.

The daughter of the woman Nici was living with told police that when she arrived home that morning, she heard about the break next door. She said that when she entered her home, she saw two television sets behind a couch in the living room, with a sheet draped over one set. She said two Playstations were there as well, along with a bag with items in it.

“All of the items were returned to the homeowner, which is good news,” said Groveland Deputy Chief Jeffrey Gillen. “If we didn’t get him, I imagine he would have victimized others.”

Nici was arraigned yesterday in Haverhill District Court on charges of breaking and entering a building in the daytime for felony, larceny from a building and larceny over $250.

Assistant District Attorney Ashlee Logan asked that Nici be held on $15,000 cash bail, noting he has a long criminal record. Nici’s lawyer, Joseph Gannon, asked that he be held on a lesser amount.

Gannon said Nici has a drug problem and wants to get treatment. Gannon asked that he be held on $1,000 cash bail, saying it was enough to ensure Nici’s return to court. Gannon said he has known Nici for a while.

“When he is clean, he stays out of trouble,” Gannon said.

Judge Patricia Dowling ordered Nici held on $7,500 cash bail and issued him a 60-day warning, meaning if he posts bail and is released he must not get into trouble with the law or he can be held for up to 60 days without bail.

Nici must appear Dec. 6 for a pretrial hearing.

When Morton questioned Nici at the police station, he first denied breaking into the home. After Morton told him he intended to apply for a search warrant for his girlfriend’s apartment, Nici said he would confess to the crime if Morton would tell the District Attorney that he cooperated with the investigation. Morton told him he would not make any promises, but would tell the DA about his willingness to cooperate.

Nici told Morton that his girlfriend and her daughter knew nothing about the break and that they had nothing to do with it.

Gillen said the case was solved quickly due to excellent work by Morton, Gorski and Sindoni.

“It was a job well done by our officers,” Gillen said.