Real Life Somerville Police Stories: Hassan BAHIA (Poss Counterfeit CC, Poss False/Stolen RMV Doc, Intimidate Witness)

On December 7, 2018, I, Officer Tim Van Nostrand, was on duty and assigned to uniform patrol in marked cruiser 781. At approximately 2:03pm, Somerville 9-1-1 received a call from XXXX, the manager of Kay Jewelers located at 360 Artisan Way. XXXX was aware of recent distraction thefts occurring at other Kay Jewelers locations, and believed there were four individuals in the store exhibiting behavior consistent with distraction thefts. I, along with Officer Chris Collette (East 3), Officer Keith O’Donnell (East 4), Officer Mark McLaughlin (east 2) and Detective Mark Pulli (D13) responded to the area.

I approached through a loading dock entrance on Great River Rd located between the Avalon apartment entrance and Earl’s restaurant. I observed a NY xxxx parked illegally with a taller black male, wearing a black sweatshirt, and black winter hat standing next to the vehicle on his phone. I also observed another male approaching from the Artisan Way entrance to the loading dock. This male had a brief conversation with the other male by the vehicle. Upon observing my marked police cruiser, the two males exited toward Great River Rd in a hasty manner. I attempted to stop these individuals to conduct a threshold inquiry, however they fled in an unknown direction. While searching the area, I entered Earl’s to conduct an interior check of the restaurant. While entering, a male with a goatee, wearing a baseball hat, gray sweatshirt with black skulls and sweat pants entered Earl’s simultaneously with me. This individual appeared extremely nervous with my presence. I observed this male take a seat at the bar, while I walked the restaurant. After not finding anyone matching the description of the males I observed, I proceeded to Kay Jewelers and met with Officer Collette who was already interviewing XXXX. While obtaining descriptions, one was described a male wearing a gray sweatshirt with skulls on it. I informed Officer Collette I had just observed that male inside of Earl’s and asked him to detain that individual. Officer Collette and O’Donnell located that individual outside of Earl’s. See Officer Collette’s supplemental report for the summary of the facts of that interaction. During this interaction, a black male wearing a gray vest entered the vehicle, and fled toward Route 28. I contacted Hertz Rental car for information, and as of the time of this report, I have not received a response.

XXXX informed me of numerous distraction thefts occurring throughout the Kay Jewelers chain of stores. XXXX showed me an internal report of a distraction theft that occurred in Peabody depicting the behavior of the individuals involved, and a report was filed with Peabody Police Dept. XXXX and employee, XXXX, informed me that two dark skinned males, and two lighter skinned males entered the store together. All four men went in separate directions, and began getting the attention of employees. One male was interested in a watch, while the other began looking at rings. XXXX stated that one male (later identified after arrest as Hassan Bahia) was interested in purchasing a gift card at a very large amount. The store’s practice is to obtain a form of identification before any large purchases are made. This male provided a Connecticut driver’s license with the name XXXX. After providing identification, the male no longer wished to pursue the transaction. Upon the arrival of Officer Collette, the male parties left abruptly, and all went in separate directions from the store.

I informed XXXX that I’d like for her to participate in a show-up to confirm the male we had stopped, was one of the individuals who was acting suspiciously inside the store. She agreed, and I completed the Show Up checklist. The individual was placed on the sidewalk standing up against a concrete pillar so the handcuffs were not visible. He was within 15 feet of a marked police cruiser, but all officer’s were out of view behind the concrete pillars. XXXX made a positive identification from approximately 40 feet away. She reaffirmed as I drove by to within 15 feet and stated “100% he was one of the four men”.

During these events, Officer Collette informed me that the Connecticut driver license #xxxx with the name XXXX was not returning the same information through a query in CJIS/NCIC. I queried the license number and received a return for XXXX out of Waterford Connecticut. I advised the male of his Miranda Rights, to which he stated he understood and agreed to speak to me. I asked him if he knew a XXXX, which he replied “No”. I then asked him for his social security number and zip code, to which he informed me he did not know. The male then stated he was no longer interested in talking to me. After Detective Pulli researched information published by the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles, it was determined that the driver’s license presented was fraudulent. The license does not contain safety features on the back side of the license, and the plastic was able to be peeled away on the front. The male presented this fraudulent license to conceal his identity and mislead the police from criminal activity. I also learned from Officer Collette (see supplemental report) that in an effort to confirm his identity, the male produced a wallet containing five credit cards bearing the name XXXX. Upon closer inspection, these cards appeared to be falsely embossed pre-paid credit cards. In the training and experience of Detective Pulli and myself, we know that pre-paid credit cards usually contain printed numbers and not raised numbers. There were also numerous imperfections located where the name was embossed. These credit cards were seized, and brought to a retail terminal where we attempted to swipe them. All five cards were declined, and a message stating insert chip displayed on the card reader. This type of error occurs when suspects apply stolen credit card numbers from cards that contain safety chips, to pre-paid cards which do not have a chip.

Based on these facts, the individual was placed under arrest and charged with possession of a false RMV document (90/24B/C), Possessing 4 or more falsely embossed credit cards (266/37C(F)), and Misleading a police officer/obstruction of justice (268/13B). The male suspect was transported to the station by Officer Anaya (Unit 200) and booked in the usual manner by LT. W Rymill. During booking, the male provided his true information. He was identified as Hassan Bahia (xxxx).

Kay Jewelers loss prevention associates will be preserving video which will be delivered to the police department at a later date. Assembly Row security will also be preserving video evidence from the area around the incident. The fraudulent driver license and five falsely embossed credit cards were seized as evidence. Bahia’s cell phone was seized in relation to this incident pending a search warrant application.

Respectfully submitted,

Officer Tim Van Nostrand

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