LAWRENCE - Police Chief John Romero said he believes there's enough evidence to prosecute an ex-city employee for taking computer files and other documents from a city garage on her last day of work.
"Based on our investigation to date, we believe we have sufficient evidence to proceed with a charge of theft of public records, Romero said yesterday.
But the chief said his department will wait for the results of a state police computer analysis and restoration of the deleted files before determining whether to charge Ann Anzalone, a bookkeeper who made copies of the documents and took them home last Friday after being laid off.
Anzalone, 49, of Salem, N.H., claims she removed the files for "safe-keeping" because she didn't trust security at the garage. That version differs with a co-worker's statement to police that Anzalone deleted files from two city computers at the garage because she was angry about losing her $33,112-a-year job.
Co-worker Crystal Johnson also told police that Anzalone had no intention of returning the information and quoted her as saying "let them figure out everything," according to a police report filed by Lt. Michael McCarthy.
Haverhill attorney Marsha Kazarosian, who is representing Anzalone, yesterday branded the police report as "absolutely false" and categorically denied that her client did anything improper.
In a new development in the investigation, Romero said investigators want to re-interview Miguel DiMarca, a co-worker of Anzalone, to determine the extent of his involvement in the deletion and removal of city files.
"We are also investigating the actions of a fellow employee, who according to our information, assisted Ms. Anzalone in deletion of the records from office computers at the garage and copying the records onto a city USB Drive (computer storage device) and providing it to Ms. Anzalone, which she also removed from the city garage," Romero said.
DiMarca, who is the son of City Councilor Nunzio DiMarca, could not be reached for comment last night. He was scheduled to be reinterviewed by investigators yesterday, but postponed the interview today until he had time to confer with his lawyer, police said.
"We want to see what state police recover from the files that were deleted before we wind up our investigation," Romero said.
"Once that's done, we'll proceed with the appropriate charges if necessary. We also have a few more questions to ask the other employee (DiMarca) and we'll see what pans out. It's our understanding that Ms. Anzalone directed the deletion of city records from computers at the garage," he said.
Attorney Kazarosian said she has spoken with DiMarca and expects him to corroborate Anzalone's statement that she took the documents home with her out of "security concerns."
"The fact that (Chief Romero) states she refused to give them up voluntarily is absolutely false, because a witness was there who heard her, and she agreed to return them," Kazarosian said, referring to DiMarca as the co-worker who can vouch for her willingness to cooperate.
Anzalone was having dinner at the time that Lt. McCarthy called her on DiMarca's cell phone, according to Kazarosian, who insisted "there was never any refusal" to surrender the records.
Anzalone had been complaining about security at the Museum Square Garage for two months, and those concerns were heightened after the suspension of Department of Public Works Director Frank McCann, according to Kazarosian.
"She is very well known for being security conscious. She's the one who turned up the $8,000 in stolen parking money," Kazarosian said.
Anzalone received a proclamation from the City Council last month along with DiMarca for assisting in the recovery of $8,000 in stolen parking money by the manager of the Buckley Transportation Center. Donald Barchard, who was arrested after admitting to taking monthly parking rent from customers, was among those laid off last week.
"People are in and out of that office constantly. There's no safeguards with any of that stuff, and there's nobody directing anyone what to do ever since the DPW got turned up on its head. That office has no security.They had people taking money out of the (cash) register," Kazarosian said.
If Anzalone was so concerned about protecting the records, Romero questions why she deleted all of the files from the computers and why she didn't contact the police.
"We could have locked down the computers," he said.