Real Life Somerville Police Stories: Shea MORTON (Receive Stolen Property, Cambridge Warrants)

On Friday, December 7, 2018, while assigned to marked unit East-3, I, Officer Ashley Catatao, responded to Marshall’s, located at 22 McGrath Highway, for the report of a woman who may have just stolen another woman’s wallet. Marked unit Sector East also responded.

Upon arrival, we were flagged down by the reporting party, XXXX, the store manager, and a male party, later identified as the victim’s son, XXXX. XXXX and XXXX were standing with a female, later identified as the defendant, Shea-Lyn Morton. I spoke with XXXX first.

According to XXXX, upon Morton entering the store, she began to watch Morton as Morton is known to her and the other employees as someone who has stolen from the store and customers in the past, and most recently as earlier in the night. XXXX noticed Morton was watching the victim, later identified as XXXX, so XXXX warned XXXX to watch her belongings as Morton is known to steal from customers. A few minutes later, XXXX noticed her wallet was missing and notified her son and XXXX. At this time, Morton had made her way to the register and was in the process of purchasing items.

XXXX approached Morton at the register and asked her if she stole his mother’s wallet. Morton replied that she did not and that he could search her and then offered him $20 in exchange. XXXX and XXXX stayed with Morton and followed her outside the store until our arrival. I’d also like to note, that approximately an hour before this event, XXXX told me that she and another employee, XXXX, had witnessed Morton take a male’s jacket from a carriage while he and his female companion were looking at items in the “Home” section. XXXX and XXXX confronted Morton and Morton stated she did not realize that the jacket was a customer’s and was intending on purchasing it. However, the jacket was placed inside a trash bag which was partially open and visible to both XXXX and XXXX. XXXX reached into the bag and pulled the jacket out and returned it to the male customer. No information was taken for the victim as the item was returned. XXXX stated that Morton is in there every Friday night and XXXX can attest to this because she works every weekend and has had multiple interactions with Morton either with stealing merchandise or stealing from customers.

Based on all the information given to me, I had enough probable cause to search Morton and all her belongings including three shopping bags, a trash bag, and a purse. I did however ask Morton if I could search her and her belongings based on allegations I had received that she stole another customer’s wallet and she immediately and ecstatically replied “Yes.”

Before beginning the search, I did ask Morton for an ID to which she provided me a Florida ID. I asked Somerville Control to run Morton in CJIS by name and date of birth. While I waited for Somerville Control to come back with any information, I began the search. As I was searching through Morton’s purse, I recovered a Brazilian passport for XXXX, a Citizens Bank Visa debit card, and a Ourocard International Visa card, both belonging to XXXX.

I then located a AAA Plus membership card for XXXX. I’d like to note that XXXX is a victim of a larceny that occurred at Whole Foods, located at 45 Beacon Street, Somerville, on October, 22, 2018. XXXX’s clutch wallet was stolen in that event. A suspect was not stopped or identified at that incident. Please refer to incident #18062655 for that report.

I then located 711 in Yuan currency along with a Mastercard belonging to XXXX, and three Union Pay cards, two with no names on it, and the third with XXXX’s name on it as well. An ID, belonging to an Asian female, which is in Chinese, was located with these items. The Yuan currency was located in Morton’s wallet, along with $958 in American currency. The American currency was inventoried and left in Morton’s wallet which is with her personal property. I also recovered three documents/items also in Chinese. When I asked Morton why she had Chinese currency, she replied “My brother just came back from China and brought it back for me as a souvenir.”

As I continued to search through Morton’s purse, I located a gold, Apple iPhone 6s Plus, which when you click on the “Home” button, reveals the photo of a pregnant female who is not Morton and the language is in Portuguese. Morton claimed the phone belongs to her cousin who left it at her house after a party she had. I’d like to note that Officer Soares asked Morton for her address and Morton replied “I’m homeless.” Later, I received information from Officer Ribeiro, who had been monitoring our radio transmissions from this call, and stated to me on the phone, that she had responded to a call at Marshall’s on November 30, 2018, at 6:11PM for the report of a larceny. November 30 was a Friday, which affirms XXXX’s claim that Morton is at Marshall’s every Friday night. Officer Ribeiro spoke with the victim in that case, XXXX, who reported her purse was stolen while shopping inside Marshall’s and inside her purse was her Apple iPhone 6s Plus. Please refer to incident #18070876 for that report. Officer Ribeiro was able to identify the woman pictured on the phone as XXXX, therefor confirming that the iPhone in Morton’s possession belongs to XXXX.

Another iPhone, color black, was recovered from her purse which could not be turned on due to no battery power. A third cell phone, a LG Stylo 4, was also recovered. This phone was not locked and could be accessed by Morton and then by us. We did ask Morton if we could go through this phone and she replied “Yes.” At this time, I felt I had enough to arrest Morton for Ch.266/60/A – Receiving Stolen Property. As I was handcuffing Morton, Somerville Control notified me over the air that Morton did have two warrants out of Cambridge District Court.

After I secured Morton in handcuffs, double locking them and checking for tightness, I read Morton her Miranda Rights. At this time, I began to question Morton in regards to her phone and whether or not she stole XXXX ‘s wallet. Officer Soares asked Morton to identify some of the contacts listed under letters G, P, and S to which Morton could only mention one name which was correctly identified in her phone as “Pablo.” The phone was held for further investigation pending verification that the phone does indeed belong to Morton. As for XXXX’s wallet, Morton stated she did not take it.

As I was searching Morton again due to her now being under arrest, I unzipped her jacket and noticed she was wearing a scarf which still had a purchase tag on it from Club Monaco, valued at $129.50. I asked Morton if she had a receipt for the scarf and she replied “No” but that she did purchase it from Club Monaco and must have forgotten about the tag.

Marked unit 200 was called to transport Morton back to the Somerville Police Department where she was booked by the shift commander.

I then began speaking to XXXX and XXXX again and we did try to locate XXXX’s wallet due to the possibility of Morton tossing it away inside the store. The wallet was described as a small/medium size, black and grey, Coach wallet, containing approximately $640 +/- in American currency, in all $20 bills, a debit card, a Massachusetts ID, a Sovereign Bank Mastercard, two MBTA “disability cards” and her xxxxx medication. We were unable to locate XXXX’s property amongst Morton’s property or her person, and were unable to locate it at the time after searching the areas Morton was observed to have been in by the victim and store employees. However, later XXXX’s wallet was recovered, hidden amongst a toy display, where Morton had previously be observed.

I then asked XXXX for a more detailed account of the events. According to XXXX they arrived at the store at approximately 6-6:30PM, and within a few minutes, she noticed Morton watching her and specifically focusing on her purse. That is when XXXX approached and informed XXXX to be cognizant of her items due to Morton being known to her and other employees as having stolen items from other customers in the past. After XXXX walked away, XXXX continued to browse items and several minutes later, when she went to check her purse, she noticed her wallet was missing. She then spotted Morton at the registers, making a purchase and called over to her son, XXXX, to confront her because she believed she had just stolen her wallet. XXXX then approached Morton and confronted her and had his interaction with her. The time was noted as 6:43PM, as nota ted on the receipts Morton received from the purchase. This is when XXXX called the Somerville Police and asked for officers to respond.

After interviewing the victim and witnesses involved, I made my way to the Somerville Police station to begin my report and entering the evidence in. While inventorying the shopping bags with merchandise that Morton had just purchased at Marshall’s, I asked Morton what card she used to purchase the items and she replied “I used a Visa gift card and I threw it away because I had used it up.” I informed Morton that unless she could produce that card and match it to the card listed on the receipt, that we would be holding on to the items until then. According to the receipts, Morton used a Mastercard ending in xxxx to purchase those items in two separate transactions for $134.96 and $311.93. These two receipts will be entered into evidence. Upon checking Morton’s property again, a Mastercard ending in xxxx could not be located in her property.

I then began to investigate the LG Stylo 4 phone more atrociously. I’d like to note that the photos in the phone only go back to November 12, 2018 and that there are two email addresses synced to the phone, one belonging to Morton and the other one listed as xxxxx.com. The emails under “xxxxx.com,” reference Morton by her first name and began on November 12, 2018. An email confirming an Amazon Prime membership, a “Recovery phone change,” and a visit to Nu Kitchen on November 13, 2018, were sent to that email address. We did locate a receipt from Metro by T-Mobile, store #9504, located at 580 Massachusetts Avenue, 02139, for a LG Stylo 4 that was purchased on November 12, 2018, at 1:46PM and purchased using a Visa credit card ending in xxxx. The IMEI from the receipt does match the IMEI on the phone therefore the phone will be returned to Morton. I’d like to note, all this information was accessible without needing to log in.

All the evidence recovered from Morton will be entered into evidence. Morton was verbally trespassed by XXXX while still on scene at Marshall’s and XXXX stated she would be following-up with an official, written trespass. Morton was informed that she was not to return to Marshall’s otherwise she could be arrested for trespassing.

After signing the warrants from Cambridge District Court for Morton, I noticed the charges on one warrant, warrant #WR5454902TC, were for three charges of Ch. 266/25/A – Larceny from Person. The second warrant, warrant #WR5454895TC, was for one charge of Ch. 266/30/C – Larceny under $1,200. I did a follow-up with Cambridge Police Department on these charges and based on incident report #18007890, Morton was caught stealing from customers inside the Sears department store located at 100 Cambridgeside Place, Cambridge, at the Cambridgeside Galleria Mall on November 6, 2018.

Based on all the information I have collected and on my interaction with Morton, I believe Morton steals items from customers inside stores, will then hide the items somewhere in the store, that way if she is confronted by customers or employees, or stopped by the police, that during the investigation, the items will not be found on her, and once the stop is completed and the police have left the area, Morton will return to collect the items she has stolen.

Respectfully submitted,

Officer Ashley Catatao #299

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