EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

April 3, 2009

Police search computers, janitor's belongings in gambling case

Defense attorney calls it a 'wild goose chase'

By J.J. Huggins

METHUEN — After Timony Grammar School custodian Patrick Winn appeared in court to face gambling charges March 5, he returned to work and got on the computer, according to police.

Police said they have probable cause to believe three Timony School computers — two Dells and an IBM — contain evidence of Winn's illegal gambling. They seized the three computers from the school, and another Dell computer and several belongings from the 36-year-old's Elmore Street home, according to court documents filed with a search warrant issued March 23.

Detective Laurie Borrelli wrote in an affidavit that "while the illegal gambling business is illegal, it is still a business."

"As such, records of transactions and of customers involved in such transactions must be — and most often are — kept by those conducting this business," she wrote.

But Winn's attorney, Arthur Broadhurst, said Winn didn't use the computer when he went back to work that day.

"He may have accessed his e-mail account from his BlackBerry, but he did not go on the computers," Broadhurst said. "There's nothing on the computers. This is a wild goose chase."

The lawyer said Winn returned to the school to pick up his personal keys, then left.

"He never did anything at work, other than his job," Broadhurst said.

Winn is charged with registering bets and using a telephone for gaming. He is due back in court April 15. Police arrested him after two men said they placed bets of thousands of dollars on sports with him.

Police seized numerous items from Winn's house, including disks, cell phones, cards for legal gambling casinos, checks, bank deposit slips, Bruins tickets, a bag of trash, a list of things to do with "Ticket $" topping the list, and an issue of Modern Bride magazine with a compact disc inside, according to court documents.

"If you take a wedding magazine, that becomes a personal attack at Pat Winn," Broadhurst said. "That has nothing to do with the supposed charges. That's just putting ointment in the eye."

Winn and his girlfriend plan to wed, Broadhurst said.

"Pat Winn is not a bookie and they'll find that out when they've done their investigation," Broadhurst said.

Winn remains on the job, said Superintendent Jeanne Whitten.

"We're still waiting for a disposition of the courts," she said.

Whitten could place Winn, a civil service employee, on paid administrative leave while his case is pending, but that "doesn't really make sense to me," she said.