EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

January 30, 2014

Police: Group of robbers targeted city stores

Three charged in series of armed robberies

By Mike LaBella
mlabella@eagletribune.com

---- — HAVERHILL — The man charged with using a knife to rob two local stores is part of a group of robbers operating in Haverhill, police said.

The group includes Matthew Clougherty, 19, who was charged last week in the knifepoint robberies, and two other people arrested on Tuesday, police said.

The trio sometimes acted together in a series of four armed robberies during the last two months and other times acted alone, investigators said.

Clougherty was arraigned Monday in Haverhill District Court on two counts of armed robbery. He was ordered held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing scheduled for tomorrow.

Police said he will be joined at that hearing by Cristina Gatzimas, 32, of 93 Evergreen Drive, and Shane Valido, 30, of 49 Varnum St.

Gatzimas and Valido were arraigned yesterday in Haverhill District Court on charges of armed robbery and were ordered held without bail pending dangerousness hearings tomorrow.

A dangerousness hearing determines whether suspects will continue to be held or be released on bail.

Clougherty, a Dover, N.H., native who was sharing an apartment in Haverhill, surrendered to police on Saturday after officers obtained a warrant for his arrest in connection to the Dec. 9 robbery of the Quik Mart at 764 Main St. He was also charged with the Jan. 22 robbery of the American Grocery store at 426 Main St.

Police said Clougherty asked for cigarettes at American Grocery and then showed a knife, demanding money from the cash register. He left the store with money and got away in a two-door silver car, police said.

Clougherty was also charged with the armed robbery of Quality Liquors at 185 S. Elm St. Police said he entered the store on Jan. 21 at 11:15 a.m., and asked for cigarettes.

He then showed a knife and demanded money, police said. He ran from the store with cash, police said.

Police have charged Valido and Gatzimas with taking part in the Jan. 22 robbery of American Grocery.

As a result of the American Grocery arrests and investigation, police also charged Valido with an armed robbery of Quality Liquors on Christmas Eve.

Police said that on Dec. 24 about 4:30 p.m., Valido walked into Quality Liquors while masked and carrying a handgun. Police said he pistol whipped the clerk in the head and took money from the register before running from the store.

Valido is charged with armed robbery, armed robbery while masked, carrying a firearm without a license, and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

Police spokesman Lt. Robert Pistone said these arrests were the result of hard work by patrol officers and subsequent investigations by the Haverhill Detective Unit.

He said the assistance of The Eagle-Tribune with timely use of social media was also helpful in the investigation.