EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 14, 2012

Police: Man lured by sale of Xbox beaten, robbed

Investigators given false report of gunman in area to confuse them, report says

By Mike LaBella mlabella@eagletribune.com
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — HAVERHILL — It was a crime involving a man lured by a chance to buy a popular video game system, only to be knocked down and kicked by robbers who took $300 from him, police said.

Police said it also included investigators being told there was a gunman in the area to throw them off the trail of the alleged robbers.

When it was over, police arrested two men and charged them in the robbery — and took a pair of boots into evidence.

Police charged William Haley, 30, of 164 Old Mill Road, Sanford, Maine, and Robert Caracoglia 38, of 15 Central St., third floor, with armed robbery and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. After they were arrested, officers searched Haley and found $191 on him, including a $100 bill the victim said was taken from him, police said. Caracoglia had $163 on him when searched him, police said. Haley’s work boots were placed into evidence due to the report of the victim being kicked, according to the police report.

At their arraignments yesterday in Haverhill District Court, Judge Patricia Dowling found there was probable cause to hold Haley and Caracoglia without bail until a dangerous hearing on Monday. The hearing will determine whether they are too dangerous to be released on bail and therefore should be held for a longer time.

Police said the arrests stemmed from a complex, sometimes chaotic situation that unfolded late Tuesday night at the edge of downtown.

According to a police report, just before 11 p.m. Tuesday, officers John Little and James Coutreau responded to a disturbance reportedly involving a gun at 15 Central St., just west of the downtown train station. When they arrived, a woman was yelling from a third-floor window that a man wearing a white hat ran down a nearby alley and that he had a gun. Little chased after the man while Coutreau remained at the building.

The man who had gone to buy an Xbox video system but was robbed was also at the building. He told Coutreau no one had a gun and that the woman was lying, according to the police report. The man said two men had knocked him to the floor inside the building earlier, kicked him in the face and body several times, and took $300 he had in an envelope, according to the police report.

The man told police that at one point a friend told him he knew someone who was selling an Xbox system. The man said he was subsequently contacted by the seller, who explained he lives at 15 Central St. The man told police he drove to the home with two friends, who waited in the car while he went into apartment the building, according to the police report.

When police questioned the woman who had reported the gunman, she said there was a man outside her home with a gun earlier, and that she was home with her boyfriend’s friend. A man wearing a green shirt, who police identified as Haley, then exited the building and told police he had been confronted by two men with a gun. But the robbery victim told police a contradictory story — that Haley was one of the men who attacked him and took his money. Police questioned Haley, then arrested him after learning there were several outstanding warrants against him.

Meanwhile, Little caught the man he was chasing. Police said Micah Maltais, 25, of Haverhill was one of the men who drove to the building with the robbery victim. Maltais told police he ran from the building because he knew there were warrants for his arrest involving a previous incident. Police arrested Maltais on a warrant for driving after suspension of his license.

While conducting a sweep of the third-floor apartment, police said they found Caracoglia hiding in a bedroom closet. He told police he was hiding because there was a warrant for his arrest, police said. Officers said Caracoglia’s girlfriend gave them permission to search the apartment, and that no guns were found.

During yesterday’s hearing, Assistant District Attorney John DePaulo filed a request for a dangerousness hearing and asked the judge to revoke bail on Haley and Caracoglia.

“Both of them have open cases,” DePaulo said.

DePaulo said Caracogila has a larceny case for which he never showed up at his arraignment, and that he has a three-page criminal record.

DePaulo said Haley has open cases in Somerville District Court for which he is in default. According to a police report, Haley has outstanding warrants, including for operating with a suspended license, larceny over $250, larceny by check over $250, uttering a false check, malicious destruction of property over $250 and possession of Class A and B substances. Caracoglia has a warrant from Woburn District Court for larceny under $250, according to a police report.