Real Life Somerville Police Stories: James EASTMAN (Unarmed Robbery, A&B)

On Friday, 8/20/21, I was working my assigned 4PM to 12AM shift in the East-1 cruiser. At approximately 6:14PM, Officers Alex Lorenti (East-3), Robert Hartsgrove (East-4), and I, were dispatched to Saks Off Fifth Avenue (300 Canal St.) for a shoplifter that punched an employee in the face. The male was described as a white male wearing an Air Jordan mask, a white shirt, and an ankle bracelet.The following is a summary of the incident:

Officer Lorenti met with the victim, Mr. XXXX and gave an updated description of a white male wearing a white shirt that said “Bos” then “Ton” under it, a dark colored hat, and long jean pants. He also stated that he may have a knife on him and may be carrying a brown bag. Mr. XXXX is an Asset Protection Investigator (API), for Saks Off Fifth Avenue.

I went on to the orange line train platform to search for the suspect just as a train arrived. The train conductor went over the loud speaker and stated that there was a male, later identified as Mr. James Eastman, hiding from me on the east side of the platform. Mr. Eastman then began running. I located Mr. Eastman and placed him in handcuffs for my own safety. Mr. Eastman was wearing a black zip-up jacket, a white shirt with “Bos” and “Ton” under it, jeans, and a dark colored hat. When asked why he was hiding, Mr. Eastman said “because I punched that guy but it wasn’t my fault, my ankle bracelet set the alarm off.” He stated that Mr. XXXX tried to say that he shoplifted but he told him that he didn’t. He continued on to say that Mr. XXXX even stole his knife out of his pocket.

API XXXX stated that his doorman, Mr. XXXX alerted him that Mr. Eastman set off the security sensors on his way in to the store, via the Canal St. entrance. Mr. Eastman told Mr. XXXX that he had an ankle bracelet on his ankle and that was probably why the alarm went off. API XXXX watched him on the cameras and noticed him put an Armani, long sleeve hoodie into a brown Nike bag. Mr. Eastman then went to the Grand Union Boulevard entrance/exit, that was un-manned. He put hand sanitizer on and lingered by the door for a little. API XXXX exited the Grand Union Blvd. doors because he cannot stop customers until they pass all points of sale and exit the store with the merchandise. Once Mr. Eastman exited the store, API XXXX announced himself as Saks Security and told him to just give him the sweatshirt back as he reached for the bag. Mr. Eastman ignored him. API XXXX followed him and Mr. Eastman told him that he didn’t steal anything, it was his ankle monitor that set the alarm off. API XXXX told him to give the sweatshirt back and reached for the brown bag; that is when Mr. Eastman punched API XXXX in the face and took off running. API XXXX tried to run after him to see which direction he ran in. He stated that during the altercation, a knife fell out of Mr. Eastman’s pocket, on to the ground somewhere.

Mr. XXXX stated that Mr. Eastman came in through the Canal St. entry/exit, with a brown Nike bag and set off the sensors while walking in. He stopped Mr. Eastman and he told him that it must have been his ankle monitor that set it off. Mr. XXXX then alerted API XXXX of the suspicious male. Mr. XXXX later went to the Grand Union Blvd. Entry/exit to assist API XXXX. He witnessed Mr. Eastman punch API XXXX in the face. He also picked up the pocket knife from the ground that fell out of Mr. Eastman’s pocket.

The pocket knife has been entered into property for destruction.

Mr. XXXX was treated by Cataldo EMS but refused medical transport. He had a substantial injury to his left eye (see attached pictures).

The Armani sweater was not recovered. Mr. Eastman took off running with it inside the brown bag, but it was not on him when he was located. The total cost of the sweater was $119.99 (see attached photo of the receipt).

I placed Mr. Eastman in front of the Foley St. MBTA train station entrance for a show-up. There were 2 white males, with white Boston Red Sox shirts on and hats standing next to Mr. Eastman. There was also several other females and adult males standing around them. Mr. Eastman and the 2 other males all kept their hands behind their backs while Officer Lorenti conducted a show-up with API XXXX in his marked cruiser. I stayed to the left of Mr. Eastman during the show-up and Officer Hartsgrove stayed to the right of the other males prior to the show-up. My marked cruiser was not in site. Prior to the show-up, I went over all of the instructions, which I read from the Identification Checklist, with API XXXX.

Officer Lorenti drove by the Foley St. MBTA entrance, without stopping. Officer Lorenti stated that API XXXX said “That’s him on the right, with the black jacket that might even be our jacket.” He stated that he was positive that that was him.

API XXXX submitted a CD with video surveillance of Mr. Eastman. The surveillance shows Mr. Eastman placing the Armani sweater in his brown Nike bag, walking around the store, lingering by the exit, and being approached by API XXXX when he was attempting to leave with the Armani sweater. The CD has been placed into evidence.

I placed Mr. James Eastman under arrest for the following charges:
-1 count of Massachusetts General Law C. 265 s.19/C: Unarmed Robbery
-1 count of Massachusetts General Law C. 265 s.13/A/C: Assault and Battery

Mr. Eastman was transported to the station via the prisoner transport wagon, operated by Officer Juan Ducasse. Mr. Eastman was extremely uncooperative during transport and during booking (see Officer Ducasse’s supplement report).

Respectfully submitted,
Officer Priscilla Ribeiro #349
Somerville Police Department

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