LEOMINSTER – At 3:10 a.m. on Thursday, March 30, Officers Joseph Rydzefski and Kevin Costa of the Leominster Police Department responded to a call at 1084 Main Street, where a resident reported a break-in. The caller said there were multiple people in her home and could see flashlights from under her bedroom door.
Upon arriving at the scene, officers witnessed three individuals flee the property. One suspect, 18-year-old Matthew De Paula, of Pawtucket Boulevard, Lowell, fell while scaling a fence and was apprehended shortly thereafter. Police later recovered a knife near the spot where De Paula fell. The other two suspects managed to escape.
Officer William Taylor discovered a Chevrolet Equinox parked 600 feet away from the crime scene at 40 Bernice Avenue, the North Leominster Little League Park. The sole occupant, 19-year-old Riley Peterson, of 304 Boylston Street, Lowell, told police she was locked out of her house in Lowell and had been driving around looking for a park to stop in. Her explanation was found to be “implausible” by police because Lowell is about 30 miles away from Leominster.
Peterson was taken into custody for trespassing – the park hours posted are from sunrise to sunset – and on suspicion of being the getaway driver.
De Paula confessed to entering the residence, believing it to be a “chop house” where people consume alcohol heavily and quickly. He intended to steal money from the occupants.
A thorough search of the area led to the discovery of a 9mm handgun and two knives. Near the pool police also located a purse belonging to one of the residents and an iPhone with multiple calls from another resident of the 1084 Main Street home, a 28-year-old man named Elijah Stacy.
Stacy was called to the scene by police. In answer to whether Stacy was leaving unanswered calls to anyone prior to his arrival, he stated that he was calling a former coworker named “Jonathan.” (No one named “Jonathan” was apprehended by Leominster police during their investigation of the incident).
Stacy told police he believed the burglars might be his disgruntled former coworkers. According to court documents, Stacy’s employer is “Jabil.”
De Paula was initially charged with multiple offenses, including possessing a firearm without proper licensing, burglary, larceny, and vandalism (all of the weapons found on scene were attributed to De Paula in his arrest report). Peterson was charged with accessory before the fact and trespassing.
Prior to their arraignment, De Paula’s charges were reduced to larceny from building and vandalize fence and Peterson’s charges were reduced to trespass.
De Paula’s bail was set at $1,000 cash. Peterson’s bail was not listed in her court documents.
Both De Paula and Peterson were arraigned in Leominster District Court later that morning. Following their arraignment, De Paula was released on bail under the condition that he stay away from 1084 Main Street. Peterson was released on her own personal recognizance under the condition that she also stay away from the aforementioned residence.
Both individuals are scheduled to appear in court again on April 26 for a pretrial hearing.
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Disclaimer 2: If you are wondering why the incident in this story was from earlier this month, that’s because I had to file FOIA request(s) to get the court documents for the incident. FOIAs are time consuming.