GARDNER —On Tuesday, July 5, at 3:55 p.m., Officers Joshua Willis and Derek Ferreira of the Gardner Police Department were dispatched to the apartment building located at 42 Main Street following a report of a door being kicked in.
The resident who reported the incident, told police the voices of two men and one woman could be heard while the banging was taking place. The caller added that after the banging stopped, the individuals went upstairs.
According to Officer Willis’ Narrative for the incident, when he arrived on scene, he found the door to the apartment damaged and ajar.
“Upon arrival, I saw that the door had damage to the dead bolt area and there were pieces of wood on the floor,” wrote Officer Willis in his Narrative for the incident. “I pushed slightly on the door and it swung open. I radioed that we had an open door and announced our presence in the apartment.”
Officer Willis said he then called Sergeant Jeffrey Labonte to the scene and retrieved the department’s police K9 “Rocky” from his cruiser.
When Sgt. Labonte arrived, he called for Detective Robert Allard, who came to the scene to speak with the resident whose apartment had been burglarized. Upon arrival, Det. Allard waited for the victim, who was not home at the time of the burglary.
According to Det. Allard’s Narrative for the incident, after arriving, the victim immediately noticed several items missing from the apartment, most of which were video games and equipment.
Specifically, the missing items were: a PlayStation 4 (PS4), a virtual reality (VR) headset, 30 video games, a Nintendo Switch, jewelry, etc. Police valued the PS4 at $400, the VR headset at $300, the Nintendo Switch at $250, and the 30 video games at $600. The damaged door was valued at $500.
While Det. Allard spoke with the victim, Sgt. Labonte and Officer Willis put Rocky to work.
“Rocky checked around the apartment and did not alert to any areas,” wrote Officer Willis in his Narrative. “When we exited the apartment, I gave him the track command and he immediately began sniffing around the area. Rocky found an odor just outside the apartment and began pulling towards the stairs.”
When Rocky began barking outside an apartment upstairs, police knocked on the door and spoke with the occupant, who said that his friends Ryan Pultorak, Timothy Whalen and Nicole DePrimeo recently came through, exiting out the back door. Pultorak is a 31-year-old Gardner resident who works as a forklift driver. DePrimeo is a 34-year-old Winchendon resident who police say is unemployed. Information about Whalen was not provided in the FOIA request.
According to Officer Willis, the occupant’s statement was verified by Rocky, who followed the scent through the apartment, out the back door, and down the rear stairwell into the parking lot, where he lost the scent.
When Detective Allard questioned him later, the occupant said he didn’t say a word to the trio as they went through his apartment.
“I asked if they said anything to him and he stated no they seldom talk to him,” wrote Detective Allard in his Narrative. “[The resident] did say he knew all three as they frequent the apartment all the time.”
While Sgt. Labonte was out back, a resident reported that he saw three people get into a green minivan in the back parking lot. He provided the license plate number as well.
According to Det. Allard’s Narrative for the incident, a few minutes after a BOLO “Be On The Look Out” was issued for the vehicle, the suspects were identified by State Police.
“A BOLO was put out on this vehicle,” wrote Det. Allard in his Narrative. “A few minutes later, it was related over the radio the State Police stopped that specific vehicle for unrelated issues.”
The State Police trooper who had stopped the vehicle minutes before, went back out and relocated the vehicle, conducting a second motor vehicle stop on West Street. The trooper told Gardner police that the minivan had five occupants: Danny Rioux, Nicole DePrimeo, Ryan Pultorak, Timothy Whalen and Dana Whalen.
Officers Willis and Ferreira reported to West Street, asked all the occupants to exit the vehicle and handcuffed them.
“Once all the occupants were separated and handcuffed (DL [double locked]) they all began giving various stories of where they were and where they were coming from,” wrote Officer Willis in his Narrative. “Detective Allard arrived on scene and spoke with each occupant. Detective Allard informed me there was enough probable cause to arrest Nicole, Timothy and Ryan for the B&E and destruction of property.”
During an inventory search, Detective Allard said officers found a white powdery substance, which appeared to be narcotics, in the driver side door of Rioux, the driver of the minivan.
Rioux was then arrested for possession of narcotics.
“Mr. Rioux was subsequently advised he was under arrest for possession of narcotics. Upon speaking with Mr. Rioux, he was extremely cooperative. He stated he was asked by Ryan, Timothy and Nicole to drop them off in front of 42 Main Street,” wrote Det. Allard in his Narrative. “He said a few minutes later, he got a call from Ryan asking him to pick them up out back of 42 Main Street.”
Rioux then told police that he drove the trio to Game Stop where Pultorak went to trade in several of the stolen items.
Det. Allard then went to the Game Stop where the store leader printed off a copy of the items that were purchased from Pultorak, which included 22 PS4 games.
The store leader also told the detective that Pultorak tried to sell a black PS4 gaming system with two remotes and the virtual reality gaming headset, but he would not take them because they were password locked.
The store leader said that Pultorak told him the items belonged to his girlfriend’s son.
“I asked if he had any conversation with Mr. Pultorak. He said small talk. He said Mr. Pultorak told him all these items belonged to his girlfriend’s son,” wrote Det. Allard in his Narrative. “He said he got in trouble for vandalism, so he was selling all these items to pay for the damages.”
The store leader then took the stolen games out of the system and returned them to police.
Police recovered the VR headset and PS4 from underneath Pultorak’s cousin’s porch, where he told police they were hidden.
Pultorak and DePrimeo were arrested. (Det. Allard said in his narrative that there was probable cause to arrest Timothy Whalen, but his arrest reports/court documents were not provided in the FOIA request).
Pultorak and DePrimeo were charged with Breaking and Entering Daytime for Felony, Malicious Destruction of Property ~$1,200, and Larceny under $1,200 by False Pretense.
Pultorak’s bail was set at $5,000 and DePrimeo’s bail was initially set at $3,500.
They were arraigned in Gardner District Court on July 6, had a pretrial hearing on July 27 and are set to appear in court again on August 24.
Disclaimer: If you are wondering why the incident in this story was from July, that’s because I had to file a FOIA request to get the court documents for the incident. FOIAs are time consuming.