ANDOVER — A Level 3 sex offender wanted in New York state tried turning himself in to police early the evening of July 4 at the CVS store on Main Street, but it wasn’t until he went to the station several hours later that he was actually arrested.
David A. Adams Jr., 52, of 1505 Herkimer Road, Apt. 24, Utica, N.Y., was wanted by Utica police for failing to register as a sex offender. He had been convicted in 1996 on violent, armed rape charges. Since getting out of jail after an eight- to 16-year jail sentence, he had been required to register as a sex offender.
According to Utica police warrant investigator Timothy Moore, Adams had complied with the law and had registered with local police over the years. But then, several months ago, he disappeared.
Moore said Utica police thought he might have been killed and they were surprised when they got the call over the weekend that Adams was in Massachusetts.
“We were starting to assume something tragic had happened to him,” he said. “I was surprised to hear from him. I’d really like to know how he got there.”
Moore said that Adams may have had some mental health issues that contributed to him leaving Utica and ending up in Massachusetts.
According to two CVS employees who were working the night of July 4, Moore might be right.
The two employees said Adams came into the store around 7:15 p.m. and was talking about how he had walked to Andover from Harvard Square and that he was being sought by police. He told them he was growing tired of being chased and was going to turn himself in.
That’s when the employees called police.
At around 7:30 p.m., police showed up at the CVS and spoke to Adams outside the store. According to the police log, officers reported Adams “wants to turn himself in. He is homeless and thinks he has an outstanding warrant.”
But then, the log states, “he checks out and is sent on his way.”
According to police Commander Charles Heseltine, when police called in to the Andover dispatcher to check on any outstanding warrants, the only thing that came back was a missing person report from an upstate New York sheriff’s department.
Dispatchers at the station called the sheriff’s department in New York to tell them they had found Adams.
“That was the end of it,” Heseltine said. The sheriff’s department in New York said, “‘that’s fine, we just needed him located,’” Heseltine said.
Heseltine added: “There was no warrant and no arrestable offense. If there had been a felony warrant in the system, we would have arrested him.”
Instead, since it was pouring rain, they attempted to find lodging for him, even calling the Daybreak shelter in Lawrence. But because he had no picture ID, the shelter wouldn’t let him stay there, Heseltine said.
“He said, ‘Drop me by the Lawrence line,’ “ Heseltine said, “so we dropped him off at the line.”
Moore, of the Utica police department, said Adams was in the national database, known as NCIC, for National Criminal Information Center.
“It was in there,” Moore said. “I don’t know if they made a mistake on their end. It goes through a nationwide database. It was in there, I know it was.”
Heseltine disagreed, saying there was a “clerical error” on the part of the Utica police and while Adams was in the New York state database as a fugitive from justice, he didn’t make it into the national database.
“They can tell you whatever they want, but the warrant was not in the (national) system,” Heseltine said. “If the warrant was in the system, he would have been placed under arrest. They had it in their system in New York, but it didn’t go into NCIC. They had it in their (state’s) system, but didn’t have it anywhere else.”
In any case, several hours after the CVS encounter, Adams walked back into the Andover police station, Heseltine said.
The lieutenant in charge of the shift told Adams to sit and wait while they sorted out the situation.
In the meantime, he said, the Utica police had called and clarified what happened.
“The sheriff’s office must have called Utica, then Utica called us,” he said. “They apologized. They said they had a clerical error, and put his name in the system. That took time, but they got it in the system.”
While Adams was waiting, the felony warrant was placed into the national database, Heseltine said, after which Adams was arrested at the Andover station.
He was then taken to the Middleton Jail.
Moore said Adams would be extradited to New York, where he will be tried for failing to register as a sex offender.