By Paul Tennant
---- — NORTH ANDOVER — A young man charged with stealing items from several cars on Surrey Drive early Wednesday morning was ordered held in lieu of $750 cash bail.
Michael Robertson, 23, of 479 Sutton St., pleaded not guilty later that day to three counts of breaking and entering in the nighttime, two counts of receiving stolen property over $250 and a single count of receiving stolen property under $250.
Before Robertson was removed from the courtroom and taken to Middleton jail, Lawrence District Court Judge Kevin Gaffney ordered him to return to the court July 24 for a pretrial conference.
Shortly after 1 a.m., a Surrey Drive resident called police and said a man dressed in black clothing was trying to get into her car. When she yelled at the suspect, he hid behind a tree rather than run away, according to a report filed with the court by Officer Brian Faye.
Faye, Officer Scott Whittaker and Sgt. Michael Davis immediately went to the scene. Faye found one car on Surrey Drive with its interior light on and the contents ransacked. Another vehicle also had items strewn about the inside, he wrote. Several other residents of the street said their cars had been broken into.
Faye followed some footprints in the grass and soon encountered a man dressed entirely in black, smoking a cigarette, the officer wrote. The man — Robertson — started walking toward Faye’s police cruiser. When Faye told him to get away from the cruiser, Robertson continued to walk toward it, according to Faye’s report.
Robertson then began walking toward Faye with his hands in his pockets. Faye ordered Robertson to show his hands and had to repeat that command twice before he finally complied, according to the officer’s report.
When police asked Robertson what he was doing on Surrey Drive at that hour of the morning, he said, “I was just at my nana’s house,” Faye wrote. A couple of nights before the summer solstice, Robertson wore a large black winter coat.
Police found a medicine bottle in Robertson’s coat. He said it belonged to his uncle — but the prescription was made out to a Surrey Drive resident, according to Faye’s report.
Robertson then said he found the bottle on the ground. Police found loose change, cigarettes, a small pocket knife, a hat, an iPhone and a cell phone charger in the pockets of Robertson’s coat, Faye wrote.
After being placed under arrest and handcuffed, Robertson refused to answer any more questions. He initially said he did not understand his rights as a criminal defendant, but then acknowledged he was aware of them from his previous arrests, according to Faye’s report.
During a telephone conversation with his grandmother, police heard Robertson say, “I robbed a few cars,” Faye wrote. Davis returned to the station with two bags filled with items stolen from the cars of Surrey Drive residents.
Robertson resides on the next street over from Surrey Drive.
This was not the first time Robertson got into trouble with the law. He was arrested March 8 and charged with assault and battery on a household member and witness intimidation.