LEOMINSTER — At about 10:08 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 8, Officer Michael Kochanski of the Leominster Police Department was dispatched to the area of Mechanic Street and Mt. Pleasant Avenue in order to locate an individual who allegedly pepper-sprayed someone at 44 Summer Street and since left the area.
According to the Narrative of Officer Kochanski, the suspect was described as a man dressed entirely in black, who was accompanied by a woman carrying a Marshalls bag with a skull on it.
Before too long, Officer Kochanski saw a man matching the description on the old railroad tracks next to Ginny’s Helping Hand & Food Pantry.
“After I turned around and parked in the Jade II parking lot, this person had disappeared, I radioed dispatch of my location and requested another officer,” wrote Officer Kochanski in his Narrative. “While searching the area, I observed a Marshalls reusable bag under the loading dock of Ginny’s. I then could hear somebody whispering but could not locate where it was coming from at the time.”
Officer Derek Doiron and Sgt. Sean Ferguson arrived on scene and all three searched the area around the loading dock. While Officer Kochanski checked the back of the unlocked box truck, Officer Doiron found a man – later identified as Matthew Bergeron – hiding under the stairs to the loading dock.
Sgt. Ferguson pulled out his pepper spray as he yelled for the man to come out with his hands up. Officer Doiron whipped out his gun and by the time Officer Kochanski pulled out his taser, Bergeron crawled out from under the loading dock.
According to Officer Kochanski’s Narrative, Bergeron, 36, of Mooreland Avenue, “has a long list of drug and gun charges.”
After he came out from under the loading dock, Bergeron was arrested for trespassing.
“The area where Mr. Bergeron was located had a chain going from the loading dock to the fence stating, ‘No Trespassing,’” wrote Officer Kochanski in his Narrative. “I then checked the area from where Mr. Bergeron crawled out from and located a black mask and nothing else.”
No weapons were found on Bergeron following a pat-frisk that took place before he was escorted to the Leominster Police Department, and nothing was located inside the Marshalls bag with a skull on it.
However, shortly after Officer Kochanski reached out to the executive director of Ginny’s asking him to review the footage from the security camera that was above the door on the loading dock, the executive director emailed a video of Bergeron to Officer Kochanski walking along the old railroad tracks with the skull emblazoned plastic Marshalls bag.
“It shows Mr. Bergeron walking along the old railroad tracks carrying the Marshalls bag with a skull on it in the direction of Mechanic St., he then goes out of camera view and a short time later, he runs back into the view of the camera, throws something over the fence into the woods below the path, sits on the stairs for a brief second and then crawls underneath the loading dock to hide,” Officer Kochanski said of the security camera footage in his Narrative.
Officer Kochanski and Sgt. Ferguson then checked the woods to see if they could locate whatever Bergeron tossed from the bag but found nothing.
“I then came back to the station and dispatch called and stated that [an employee] of Ginny’s had found a small bottle with two small baggies with what he thought contained a white/brownish powder,” wrote Officer Kochanski in his Narrative. “[The employee] told me that while going through the clothing that was inside the Marshalls bag, this small container dropped out and he found that inside.”
Officer Kochanski then placed the baggies into an evidence bag and marked it for destruction.
“[…] Upon further investigation into the bags it appears that they might have at one time contained a powder[y] substance but at this time they do not,” wrote Officer Kochanski in his Narrative. “I will be entering them into evidence to be marked for destruction.”
At his arraignment in Leominster District Court on Sept. 8, Bergeron plead guilty to trespassing.