Real Life Somerville Police Stories: Matthew EARNER (Shoplifting, Resisting Arrest) at KMart

On 8/23/2018, I, Officer Devin Schneider, was in full uniform while assigned to marked unit East-1 during the 4pm-12am shift. At approximately 4:40pm I received a report of a shoplifter who had attempted to steal merchandise from Kmart (77 Middlesex Avenue.) The reporting person stated that the shoplifter was a white male with a black shirt, khaki pants and a black backpack, who had took off running towards the MBTA stop at Assembly Square. At the time I was on foot with Officer David Ruf (East-4) in the area of the Partners Healthcare building located at 399 Revolution Drive. I could see across the parking lot between Revolution Drive and Foley Street a male matching the description. The male was carrying a backpack in his hand, walking hurriedly from the direction of Kmart, while repeatedly looking over his shoulder.

I began running towards the shoplifter to maintain visual contact, while Officer Ruf retrieved his marked cruiser. As I got close to the suspect, I shouted for him to stop. The suspect looked over his shoulder and saw me, as well as Officer Ruf in his cruiser with the lights activated, then took off at a full run towards the T station. Officer Ruff and I pursued the suspect into the T station, where we had to run up the stairs of the overpass, then down the stairs onto the train platform. I could see the suspect running down the train platform when I made my way across the overpass, Then I observed him duck into one of the walled partitions on the platform.

Officer Ruf and I searched the busy platform for a short time until Officer Ruf located the suspect half way down. I placed the suspect into handcuffs in a manner consistent with my training (double locked, checked for tightness.) The suspect was identified via his M.A. state identification as Matthew Earner. Earner had a bandage wrapped around his right wrist, so I used extra caution when applying the handcuffs. Earner did not have the backpack that I had witnessed him running with, and refused to divulge its location. A bystander standing on the platform approached Officer Ruf, and directed his attention to a nearby trash can where he had witnessed Earner throw the backpack in. The backpack was retrieved, and a search incident to arrest revealed that the backpack contained 3 Puma brand hats and 1 Puma brand sweater with the price tags still attached.

I spoke with the reporting person, Kmart Loss Prevention Officer XXXX. According to LPO XXXX, he and LPO XXXX had witnessed him through Kmart’s video surveillance system conceal 2 screwdriver tool sets, and consume a can of Red Bull which he did not pay for. Earner then left the store, making no attempt to pay for the merchandise. When LPO XXXX attempted to apprehend him outside the store, he dropped the stolen merchandise and took off running. The value of the merchandise taken from Kmart equals $82.98.

Earner was belligerent during our encounter, spitting as he shouted, and making several threats to assault me. Earner made it difficult to transfer him outside the T station by refusing to move, and pulling his arms away from me. After removing Earner from the T station, he was transported back to the Somerville Police Station in prisoner transport unit 200, operated by Officer Roger Desrochers. At the station, he was booked in the usual manner by the Commanding Officer: Lt. Jeff DiGregorio.

Officer Ruf followed up with Puma at 341 Artisan Way, where he spoke with store manager XXXX. According to XXXX, he had seen Earner hanging around a merchandise rack in Puma sometime around 4:15pm-4:20pm. XXXX had to help another customer, and when he checked the area where he had seen Earner, he discovered several empty hangers. XXXX will attempt to locate evidence of the theft on the store’s video surveillance system. The value of the merchandise taken from Puma equals $125.

I will be charging Earner with 2 counts of Shoplifting by Concealing Merchandise. For exposing Officer Ruff and I to a physically hazardous situation by making us run about the distance of a football field, upstairs, then down stairs onto a train platform in order to apprehend him, I will be seeking a charge of Resisting Arrest. Receipts from Puma and Kmart will be attached to this report

Respectfully submitted,

Officer Devin Schneider

Badge #295

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