At approximately 10:50 am I was on foot in the area of the MBTA subway stop on Holland St. I walked around the West side of the building into Seven Hills park, where I witnessed two males standing next to some bushes. One of
the males were later identified as Stephen Danca. The males, were standing next to what appeared to be a trash bag and a large object bundled in cloth. The males appeared to be manipulating the trash bag and bundle when I walked around the corner, and quickly distanced themselves from the objects when they saw me. The males then stood by a bench next to a female, later identified as Laura Baum.
I asked the males if the bags belonged to them and they stated that they did not, however they had been curious as to their contents. I walked over to the bags to inspect the contents, and the males began to quickly walk away from me towards Holland St. Upon opening the bags I noticed the contents contained some large cables, and several lengths of cut copper pipe. I know, based on my training and experience, that criminals will commonly break into houses under construction and steal the copper pipes and wiring due to the high price that scrap yards will pay for copper scrap.
I radioed Somerville dispatch with my location and situation and caught up with the males in front of CVS in Davis square. I was joined by Officer Gee (Route-6) and Officer Anderson (West-7). I asked Danca to return to the bags of copper with me, and they complied. I was joined a short time later by Officer Perrone (West-5), and Sergeant Macarelli (S-8).
Prior to asking any further questions, I read Danca their Miranda rights. They stated that they understood their rights. The males continued with their story that they had never seen the bags of copper prior to seeing them in the bushes. I asked the two males for consent to search their backpacks and persons, and they stated that it was ok. Upon searching Danca, I discovered a small opened “nip” container of Thompson brand whiskey in his pocket containing a small amount of brown liquid I believed to be whiskey. Also discovered was a Permanent Resident card, and Visa card with the name Bernd Schueler. Danca stated that he found the items in Porter Square and was going to return them to the owner.
Upon searching Danca’s backpack, I discovered a bundle of yellow copper wiring. I asked Danca where the wiring had come from and he stated that it was from Kaplan Career Institute in Charlestown. Danca stated that he was a student electrician and they allowed him to take the wire from the university two months ago for homework. Danca invited us to call the career center to verify the information. Officer Perrone called and spoke with the Executive Director of Kaplan, who stated that they had no record of Danca being enrolled in the university, students were not allowed to bring anything home, and the Charlstown branch of the university had been closed for six months.
I spoke separately with the other male party, who stated the following information to me:
He and Danca had brought the copper to Davis square. They had found it by a blue trash can in either Porter Square or Harvard Square. He did not know Danca very well, but had agreed to help him bring it to a scrap yard.
Based upon the facts and circumstances surrounding my encounter with Danca, I believed them to knowingly be in possession of stolen property. An investigation will be forthcoming into the following items prior to any formal charges:
(All dimensions are approximate)
-3 lengths of 1/2″ copper piping, 2 1/2′ long.
-2 lengths of 1 1/2″ copper piping, 5′ long.
-2 12′ long lengths of yellow Nomex wire
-1 bunch of multi-colored wire
-1 bag of Cable marked “Weldmark”.
Danca was placed under arrest and placed into handcuffs in a manner consistent with my training for the possession of the open container of whiskey in violation of the following Somerville City Ordinance: