EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 13, 2013

Derry business owners concerned about thefts

Victims say they wish police would do more

By Doug Ireland

---- — DERRY — Some local garage owners are frustrated with recent thefts at their businesses.

They are even more frustrated because they think they know who the thief is and they say police do, too.

“The thing I’m aggravated about is they know this guy and know where he lives,” said Al Heath, owner of A.B. Heath & Sons Auto Repair at 13 South Ave.

But Derry police Capt. Vern Thomas said yesterday his department is doing what it can to solve all thefts, as long as they have been reported to police.

Heath said the string of thefts at three Derry shops began Oct. 7 when a man, whom he has known for years, came into his shop and tried to sell him a portable battery pack.

“I kind of showed him out the door,” Heath said.

Then Heath noticed his $400 cell phone had disappeared from the counter. Since no one else was in the shop, Heath said he knew the man took it.

Heath said he was able to track the phone to a kiosk at The Mall of New Hampshire in Manchester that offers cash for used phones.

He reported the theft to Derry police, but said he was told there was nothing they could do.

An arrest warrant has been issued for the man, whose identity is being withheld, Thomas said yesterday. He wouldn’t reveal any charges the man faces because the theft at Heath & Sons is still under investigation.

Thomas said that was the only incident his department has been asked to investigate.

“I can’t talk about it,” Thomas said. “I’m disappointed that people think we are not doing our jobs. We have to be thorough and make sure we have the right people.”

In the last few weeks, Heath happened to speak to two other local garage owners who said they also had thefts at their businesses. They believe it was the same man.

Steve Pelligrino of Motorcars East on Storer Court said the man distracted his wife and stole car keys off the shop counter Oct. 14 after saying he was interested in buying a vehicle.

The man never bought a car and hasn’t been seen since, he said.

“He’s bad news this guy,” Pelligrino said.

Last week, Robert Shaver, owner of Industrial Equipment Co. at 35 Maple St., said a welder and tools were stolen from his business on Wednesday and Friday nights.

He estimates the value of the stolen goods at between $5,000 and $10,000. Shaver said he’s had numerous thefts at his business in the 30-plus years it’s been open.

The same man had stopped by his business as well, saying he wanted to buy a car. Shaver suspects he’s the thief, but doesn’t know for sure.

Thomas said he had no knowledge of any thefts at the shop. But Shaver said he reported both incidents to police and was asked to list the items stolen.

Shaver said he’s contacted Derry police many times over the years and none of the thefts were solved. He said he doesn’t think these thefts will e solved either.

“Nothing will ever come of it,” he said.