By Mike LaBella
---- — HAVERHILL — Police say a man who allegedly stole a pocketbook from a parked car in broad daylight Tuesday led them on a high speed chase down River Street and Lincoln Avenue, weaving in and out of traffic at a high rate of speed while passing cars on the left and right.
They said the man raced onto the Groveland Bridge where construction is taking place and was eventually stopped by Newbury and state police on Interstate 95, just north of Exit 56.
Police charged Rosalis Rios, 41, of 31 Stevens Ave., Lawrence, with breaking and entering a vehicle in the daytime for felony, larceny over $250, possession of burglarious tools, reckless operation of a motor vehicle and failure to stop for a police officer.
At his arraignment yesterday in Haverhill District Court, Assistant District Attorney John DePaulo said Rios has a six-page criminal record that goes back to 1985, has served time in jail, and uses three different aliases with three different dates of birth when stopped by police in the past. DePaulo also said Rios has a pending court case against him and asked that his bail be revoked on that case.
DePaulo said Rios put the public in danger when he fled from police at a high rate of speed and asked that he be held on $7,500 cash bail.
“It’s likely he’s going to be charged in different jurisdictions,” DePaulo said, indicating the license plate of Rios’ car were seen in connection to other breaks in the Newburyport area.
Judge Mary McCabe revoked Rios’ bail on a pending case in which he is charged with violating a stay-away order and ordered him held without bail.
She set bail at $1,000, which appeared to frustrate DePaulo, who had asked for a much higher amount.
Police said they were alerted to Rios’ activities by witnesses who saw a man looking into the windows of cars parked at Dr. Cardarelli’s office on Summer Street at approximately 12:20 p.m. on Tuesday.
Witnesses told police the man then crossed the street to another parking lot where he continuing looking into other vehicles. Two witnesses told police the man then smashed the passenger side window of a car, stole a pocketbook, then got into a red Saturn and fled down Mill Street.
Witnesses provided police with a description of the suspect and the car he was driving as well as his license plate number.
A police officer who was in his patrol car on Water Street radioed that he had just been passed by a car traveling at a high rate of speed. The officer pursued the car, noting the suspect was weaving in and out of traffic and was passing cars on the right and left and creating an “extremely hazardous” condition.
The officer said the suspect refused to stop and that he backed off the pursuit and the suspect continued to race onto the Groveland Bridge. Groveland police picked up the chase and the suspect was eventually stopped on Interstate 95.
Police said Rios was alone in the car when he was stopped. A Coach pocketbook was on his front seat and its contents, including credit cards, were spread across the seat. Rios was in possession of two screwdrivers, the report said.
Police said the pocketbook and its contents were returned to the victim.
According to a report by Haverhill Police Patrolman Lance Dawkins, Rios has about 70 arraignments on his criminal record and “appears to qualify for Common and Notorious Thief.” Rios must return to court Aug. 6 for a pretrial hearing.