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April 3, 2013

Police: Man caught after dropping safe in front of detectives

SALEM, Mass. — A Salem man’s apparent attempt at becoming a safe-cracker didn’t work out very well, police say.

Three Salem police detectives happened to be parked near the intersection of Dow and Lafayette streets shortly after 5 p.m. Monday when they noticed a familiar face, that of Peter Turco, 35. The detectives — Dennis Gaudet, Sgt. Kristian Hanson and Brian St. Pierre — had all dealt with Turco before.

This time, they noticed he was carrying a brown comforter that appeared to be wrapped around a large, square object as he walked in the rain up Dow Street.

Then, as they watched, a safe fell to the ground from under the blanket.

Within moments, a woman driving a Ford Explorer pulled up, driving the wrong way on Dow Street. Turco picked up the safe and hopped in, the detectives said in their report. Because the SUV was going the wrong way, they decided to stop it.

In the SUV, they noticed the safe on the floor at Turco’s feet.

Turco claimed he’d found the safe and the comforter in the trash. But since both were dry, and it was raining out, “this reply did not seem reasonable,” the detectives wrote.

Meanwhile, back at the police station, a dispatcher was handling a call from a houseguest at 31 Salem St. who said Turco had just left the apartment with a safe, other valuables and a North Face backpack — which the officers had also noticed Turco carrying.

And they couldn’t help but notice that Turco’s pockets were bulging. During booking, Gaudet discovered that they were filled with jewelry, watches and two cellphones.

The houseguest, who is acquainted with Turco, said he had been staying with a friend in the apartment. That friend had gone out when Turco showed up and asked to use the bathroom, he said. Because the resident knew that Turco knew his host, he let him in.

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