By Mike LaBella
---- — HAVERHILL — A Groveland man who a court clinician said was in the throes of heroin withdrawal was charged with stealing cash, cell phones as well as credit and debit cards from members of a local health club.
Police said Thomas Greeley, 29, of 3 Manor Drive, went to various CVS and Walgreens stores and bought $100 Visa gift cards. He also used the stolen cards to make purchases at local Cumberland Farms stores, police said.
Greeley was arraigned in Haverhill District Court yesterday where he was charged with five counts of larceny from a building, one count of credit fraud above $250 and one count of credit fraud under $250.
A court clinician who said she evaluated Greeley prior to the hearing said Greeley was withdrawing from a “substantial amount of heroin” and suggested he could benefit from medical supervision while withdrawing.
Greeley’s defense lawyer, Christopher Deorocki, said Greeley is gainfully employed and was in rehab in October and that he recognizes he has a drug problem. He said Greeley has no open cases and no convictions since 2008.
According to a police report on file in Haverhill District Court, police received five separate reports of thefts from Choice Fitness between April 22 and April 29. Police said the suspect, who after an investigation proved to be Greeley, would go into the men’s locker room and steal wallets and cell phones from unlocked lockers. He would then go to different Walgreens and CVS stores in Haverhill and Plaistow to purchase or attempt to purchase Visa gift cards. He also went to various Cumberland Farms stores and use the stolen debit cards, police said.
Police said Greeley went to Walgreens on April 22 and charged $104.95 for a Visa gift card. He also went to a CVS and charged $104.95 twice, purchasing two Visa gift cards. Police said he also went to a CVS on April 25 and used a stolen debit card to purchase a Visa gift card for $104.95. Police said he went to a CVS on April 26 and purchased Visa gift cards totaling $359.90.
Police said they were provided with store surveillance images of the suspect, which they showed to a manager at Choice Fitness. The manager identified the person in the photos as Greeley, and gave police a report showing the dates and times Greeley had checked in. Police said they matched the dates and times of the reported thefts. Greeley was subsequently arrested and charged with the thefts.
Assistant District Attorney John DePaulo said that once the gift cards were bought, they could be passed around as if they were cash.
“This is somebody with a very bad drug problem,” DePaulo said, adding that if he were to be back on the street he’d do the same thing again.
DePaulo asked for Greeley to be held on $7,500 cash bail. Judge Patricia Dowling set bail at $5,000 cash and ordered Greeley held in a locked treatment facility under Section 35 of state laws. Greeley must return to court June 4 for a pretrial hearing. Dowling also issued a 60-day warning, meaning if he commits another offense while his case is pending he could be ordered held for up to 60 days without bail.