EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

April 19, 2013

Tip leads to three arrests, stolen car

By Jo-Anne MacKenzie

---- — PELHAM — An alert citizen led police to a stolen car, stolen Airsoft weapons and marijuana Monday. It also led to the arrests of two Pelham women and a Billerica man.

A resident called police about a suspicious vehicle, Lt. Brian McCarthy said. Police found the 2006 Toyota Sienna in the parking lot of the Highland Avenue Apartments.

Responding officers checked the license plate of the van and discovered it had been stolen in Billerica within the past week, McCarthy said.

While police talked to the occupants — Michael Savage, 19, of Billerica, Kassandra Ferriera 17, of Pelham and Courtney Craig, 19, of Pelham — they noticed what appeared to be several semi-automatic weapons in plain view.

Those weapons turned out to be Airsoft weapons, McCarthy said, but the officers initially believed they were real guns.

The Airsoft weapons turned out to be stolen, too, he said, taken during a burglary in Billerica Sunday.

Police also found Ferriera and Craig in possession of marijuana, police said.

Savage was charged with a felony count of receiving stolen property and two misdemeanor counts of receiving stolen property. Ferriera and Craig both were charged with possession of a controlled drug.

Savage was held for lack of $10,000 cash bail. The women were released and are scheduled to appear in 10th Circuit Court May 6.

McCarthy said there are two lessons from this incident.

The first is for people transporting Airsoft weapons. They look very realistic, he said, and police officers will respond to them as such.

“If I stop a car and see an Airsoft rifle that looks like an AR-15, I’m probably going to draw my weapon,” McCarthy said. “Be responsible with firearms, whether Airsoft or real. Remember, you may have contact with police; you don’t want the situation to take a bad turn.”

McCarthy also wanted to call attention to the call that started the investigation.

“Historically, we hear, ‘We didn’t want to call you, we didn’t want to bother you,’” he said of citizens’ reluctance to call police based on suspicions.

But police want those calls, he said.

“This is shining example of why we want people to call,” McCarthy said. “The person took the time and the result was a positive one. We located a stolen car, items stolen in a burglary. Our job is to answer calls, no matter what.”