By Jo-Anne MacKenzie
---- — SALEM — Three Methuen men remain in jail after their arrests on theft charges early Saturday on Route 28.
Officer Steve McPherson stopped their car for a motor vehicle infraction at 2:19 a.m. near IHOP. He noticed the back-seat passenger “moving around and making furtive movements,” Deputy police Chief Shawn Patten said.
The officer found all three men to be acting nervously and he noticed a checkbook on the floor of the rear seat. When McPherson looked at the checkbook, the name on the account did not match that of any of the three men, Patten said.
Christopher Asselin, 24, said the checkbook belonged to his aunt.
Then McPherson found “numerous” credit cards, with multiple names on the cards, and two GPS units in the car.
When McPherson contacted the people whose names were on the credit cards and checks, none of them were aware their belongings were missing. Upon checking, the people found their vehicles had been ransacked, their checkbooks, credit cards and more missing, Patten said.
During the course of the investigation, the three men told police they were in Salem “breaking into cars.”
Asselin was accompanied by Marc Berard, 24, and Donald Pappalardo, 52.
All three were taken into custody and held on cash bail. All three remained in jail late yesterday.
Asselin is charged with two counts of theft, conspiracy to commit theft and loitering/prowling. His bail was set at $1,000 cash.
Berard is charged with receiving stolen property and conspiracy to commit theft. His bail, too, was set at $1,000 cash.
Pappalardo is charged with having an open container, conspiracy to commit theft and receiving stolen property. The amount of his bail wasn’t available.
Any Salem resident whose vehicle may have been broken into Friday evening is asked to call McPherson at 893-1911.
“We highly recommend people bring their valuables inside, especially credit cards, checkbooks,” Patten said. “Unfortunately, you also need to lock your cars and houses.”