Police probe home invasion; solve robbery case

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Canton police continue to search for suspects in a daytime home invasion on Arboretum Way on Tuesday that left an elderly resident hospitalized with “serious but non-life-threatening” head injuries.

Police responded to the scene around 11 a.m. and determined that the suspects, described as three Hispanic males wearing hoodies (two blue and one black), had forcibly entered the residence of an elderly man and his wife.

Police said the man was pistol whipped and two of the suspects were observed to be carrying weapons. The male victim was taken to an area hospital for treatment of injuries sustained in the attack.

The suspects fled the area in a vehicle that is believed to be a black Chrysler Pacifica, occupied by four people.

In a news release issued on Tuesday, police described the investigation as “fluid” and stated that a motive had not been “definitively determined.” However, Police Chief Ken Berkowitz later added in a press conference that they do not believe the attack was random, noting that the assailants “asked specifically for a person’s name.”

Berkowitz said police believe the suspects came from Boston, and the CPD is working closely with the Boston Police Department to identify the suspects. Anyone with additional information about this crime is urged to contact Detective Sergeant Paul Gallagher at 781-828-1212 or Boston Police at 617-343-4328.

Surveillance footage of the suspect’s vehicle can be found on the CPD Twitter page @CantonMAPolice.

Canton, area police nab Shaw’s assault suspect

A suspect in the recent assault and attempted handbag theft of an elderly woman outside Shaw’s Supermarket at the Village Shoppes was apprehended just a short while later thanks to the combined efforts of the Canton, Easton, and State Police. The victim, a 71-year-old woman, was transported to an area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and was released a few hours later.

Robbery suspect Doug Gardner

Robbery suspect Doug Gardner

The incident occurred around 11:15 a.m. on Friday, July 14. Police said the suspect, who has been identified as Doug Gardner, 45, of Bridgewater, forcibly took the victim’s pocketbook after a struggle and then fled the scene in a silver or grey Nissan sedan. While exiting the parking lot, the suspect’s vehicle made contact with the victim and another bystander, according to police.

Witnesses rushed to assist the victim, and a bystander provided the officers on scene with both the license plate number and a direction of travel for the suspect’s vehicle. Gardner was apprehended a short time later in Easton after attempting to flee into the woods. The victim’s purse and all of its contents were recovered inside the vehicle.

Gardner was charged with unarmed robbery on a party over 60 years old; assault and battery on a party over 60 years old; two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (car); receiving stolen property; and possession of a Class E substance. He was arraigned in Stoughton District Court and bail was set at $50,000. His next court appearance is scheduled for August 9.

Last week’s incident marks the fourth such documented case of a purse snatching or attempted purse snatching in the Shaw’s parking lot since the start of 2017. The other three occurred within days of each other in late January and early February and were all believed to be perpetrated by the same group of suspects: Ihor Havryliv, Alyssha Delellis, and Arthur Peoples, all of Stoughton. The three alleged co-conspirators have all been indicted in Norfolk Superior Court for the Canton robberies as well as two prior robberies in Stoughton.

Diane Wood, who works at an office in the Village Shoppes and saw the most recent victim being tended to by witnesses, said the recent rash of robberies has made her genuinely concerned for her safety.

“I’m in Shaw’s every day,” said Wood, a Stoughton resident. “I’m a woman who is over 60 and I walk with a cane, and unfortunately in this society you can be a target. And the fact that somebody in broad daylight has the audacity to do this means that they just don’t care.”

Wood called for tighter security measures in and around the Shaw’s parking lot and strongly believes that there should be “eyes” on the lot at all times — either in the form of video surveillance or additional store personnel. She also suggested that either store employees, or perhaps community volunteers, could consider walking older or disabled patrons to and from their vehicles.

The Citizen reached out to the manager of the Village Shoppes via email to inquire about current safety protocols and whether any changes might be considered, but the email had not been returned as of press time. (Editor’s note: The Village Shoppes responded shortly after the paper went to press. Click here to read the statement.)

Police Chief Ken Berkowitz was also asked about security in the area from the perspective of local law enforcement and he indicated that the Canton Police already conduct frequent patrols at the Village Shoppes, as they do in all “high traffic areas in town.” Berkowitz further emphasized that the Village Shoppes has “very little crime” when compared to other shopping centers in the area.

“People should feel safe going to Shaw’s or any other stores or neighborhoods in Canton,” he said. “In addition, residents should feel confident knowing that the few incidents that we have had we solved very quickly.”

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