Where is my iPad?

On Monday night, about 6:50 p.m., Lowell Police got called to a home on Bradstreet Avenue for a report of a past break-in.

A woman had arrived home, found her front door open, and discovered an iPad, jewelry, and some other items had been stolen. Capt. Kelly Richardson said the call was “routine.”

Officers Jose Lorenzi, Luis Rios, and Dan Otero arrived to investigate. When the woman reported that her iPad had been taken, Lorenzi informed the woman she could potentially use her home computer to track the location of the iPad using the iPad’s GPS function.

Lorenzi and Otero helped show the victim how to do that while Rios handled the regular aspects of investigating the house break.

Lorenzi is pictured on the left in the photo attached here. Rios is second from right. This photo is from last summer when they were among four officers lauded for helping make a gun arrest in The Acre.

Shortly after the officers left the woman’s home, she called police to report that she got a “ping” from her iPad, showing it was located just one block away at 144 Parker Street. At the same time, police got a call about a break-in at 144 Parker Street.

Police realized the two things were probably connected, so they sped to the home. The suspect had already fled, but he left the stolen iPad behind. It was recovered, and police found enough evidence to obtain an arrest warrant for a Lowell man, according to Capt. Richardson.

Richardson declined to identify the suspect since he remains on the loose. Police now have an arrest warrant and are searching for him.

I’ll bring you that guy’s identity once he’s in custody.

Four hurt in Tyngsboro crash on Route 3A

Tyngsboro Police were called to Middlesex Road, just north of Bryant Lane, tonight about 10:15, for a possible head-on crash.

They arrived to find a three-vehicle crash involving two black cars and a maroon sport-utility-vehicle. Police tell me four people were taken to area hospitals, but the folks at the scene were not authorized to release anything else.

I can confirm that no one has died, but I can’t say how severe the injuries were.

Tyngsboro Police requested that a state police accident reconstruction team come to the scene, which almost always indicates serious injury, but according to police radio broadcasts state police said they couldn’t send anyone.

Nashua and Dunstable Police helped Tyngsboro close Middlesex Road (Route 3A), and that road remained closed until shortly before midnight since debris, vehicles, glass and fluids were scattered all over the road.

The two vehicles pictured above came to rest about 50 yards north of the black car in the bottom picture, and there was quite a bit of debris scattered in between.

UPDATE: Deputy Chief Rich Burrows emailed this morning to tell us this crash happened when a 2005 Volvo XC90 that was being driven northbound by Kerry Dovidio, 38, of Londonderry, N.H., crossed the center yellow lines.

Dovidio’s Volvo struck the rear, driver’s side of the maroon SUV, a 2007 BMW 530XI that was being driven southbound William Cusato, 52, of Acton. The Volvo then struck a southbound 2007 Honda Accord driven by Shaun Vieira, 24, of Merrimack, N.H.

There’s some good additional information from a commenter below, though I’m not sure about the time element, because Burrows said no 911 calls were received until 10:06 p.m.

Burrows said Dovidio and a child that were in her car were taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Nashua with non life-threatening injuries.

Cusato and Vieira were taken to Lowell General Hospital. Vieira was later transferred to Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston with head and neck injuries. I don’t have a condition update on him right now.

Police said it does not appear that alcohol was involved. Dovidio was cited for failure to keep right.

Fundraiser for damaged South Lowell church

Remember the fire I covered on September 13 at a church in South Lowell?

The Holy Family Parish is still rebuilding from that, and while insurance will cover much of the structural damage, the fire also destroyed goods meant for the church’s charitable activities, educational materials, religious items, and other items in the basement, where the fire raged.

On Saturday, March 10, at the Knickerbocker Club, 36 Chamberlain Street, the parish will hold a fundraiser to help defray the costs of replacing all those items.

Organizers are asking for a $10 donation at the door, as the fundraiser runs from 8 to midnight.

There will be a silent auction and silent raffle for items like hotel stays on Cape Cod, rounds of golf, sports memorabilia, Red Sox tickets and theater tickets.

For more information call William Dunn at 978.458.6302.

Come home immediately

By Robert Mills
rmills@lowellsun.com
WILMINGTON — Brian Crowley was at the gym yesterday afternoon when he got an urgent call from his live-in girlfriend, Maria Pelrine.
“Oh, my God,” she told him. “I don’t want to scare you. Just come home.”
Crowley, of 137 Nichols St., knew his girlfriend is not one to panic. She called 911 at 1:41 p.m.

“I knew she was serious,” Crowley said. “So I flew here as fast as I could to find police, fire, the power company and all my neighbors in a three-mile radius looking at my house that is now half destroyed.”
Crowley arrived to find his roof crushed by a roughly 2-foot-thick pine tree that snapped in yesterday’s high winds and landed on top of the home where he has lived for about five years with Pelrine and his dogs.
The tree that crushed Crowley’s home was one of many that fell yesterday as winds gusted up to 60 mph in some parts of the state, prompting the National Weather Service in Taunton to issue a wind advisory.

A car and a home were struck by trees in Newton and Worcester, according to reports taken by the National Weather Service. A spotter for the agency reported a 47-mph wind gust in Bedford at 12:18 p.m.
National Grid reported widespread power outages across the state over the course of the day, though most were small. About 1,000 people were without power in Middlesex County at 7 p.m. At 8 p.m., that number was down to 288.
Pelrine was still shaken yesterday evening.

When the tree fell, she was sitting on a couch about 10 feet away from where a branch penetrated the ceiling, stopping just 2 feet from the floor. That was one of three branches that penetrated the ceiling.
“If someone was there they were dead, there’s no doubt about it,” Crowley said of the spot where the branch came through the roof. “We’re lucky in that sense, but it’s hard to think of luck right now when you look at this.”
No one was hurt.

The impact left cracks in the ceiling in several rooms. It knocked the cover off a smoke detector and destroyed a fan in the bathroom.
Pelrine said the impact even made a dog gate in a doorway shoot across the kitchen.
“It shook the entire house,” Pelrine said of the impact. “It was like an earthquake.”
Crowley said he was going to stay in a barn behind the home last night. Pelrine was going to stay with family. Firefighters and the building inspector told Crowley the home could not be occupied.

A crane should arrive to remove the tree today, and Crowley is hoping to hear from his insurance company by then. Once the tree is removed, officials from the town and insurance company can begin to fully assess the damage.
He spent yesterday evening shutting off a leaking water pipe he found and taking inventory of the damage, including cracks in his ceiling and an outer wall of the home that was bowing outward.
Benjamin Sipprell, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Taunton, said winds will still be kicking up this morning, with gusts of up to 35 mph in Greater Lowell. He said those winds should taper off by midday.
“We’ll still be seeing some pretty decent gusty winds into the morning hours,” he said.

Driving lesson gone wrong

I sped out to Dracut at 5:32 p.m., as I mentioned on twitter, when police and firefighters were called to 80 Springdale Road for a report that a vehicle struck a building, and that the smell of natural gas was in the air.

Police arrived, discovered a gas leak, and evacuated Oun and Mean Choun, their 7-year-old daughter, two 9-year-old nieces and a 3-year-old nephew they were babysitting.

Oun Choun said she was watching a movie with her husband while the kids were running around and playing.

“We heard something hit, like an earthquake, with cracking,” Oun Choun said. She said the children jumped and screamed.

The Chouns went outside to find their neighbor’s car smashed backward into the home, with a roughly 3-foot hole in the cinderblocks of the foundation.

“I couldn’t believe it,” said Oun Choun. “Kids were playing outside a few hours ago. I’m glad it happened once they came in.”

Police told me tonight that the accident occurred while a 16-year-old neighbor girl was getting her first driving lesson from her mother. It “went horribly wrong,” police said.

No charges have been filed so far, but police continue to investigate exactly how this happened.

Firefighters got the gas shut off by 5:44 p.m., according to radio broadcasts.

Deputy Fire Chief Mike Ralls told me there will be no heat or hot water in the home tonight since the gas line was damaged, but that the structural damage wasn’t so bad that the family stay in the home tonight. A building inspector will conduct a further inspection in the morning.

I feel for the poor girl who was driving. I hope she learns from this and becomes a better driver as a result. In the long run, it might be a good thing if one more teenage driver actually understands just how quickly things can go wrong while you’re driving.

Gunshot fired at Englesby School in Dracut

It’s school vacation week in Dracut and there are no students around at the Christos Daoulas Education Complex.

Thank God.

The fact that it’s school vacation week and the complex is empty at night is reportedly why a drug dealer suggested a meeting with would-be customers in the complex on Tuesday night.

The drug dealer met the boys in the Englesby parking lot, ended up pulling a gun, firing a gunshot into the air, and then carjacking the two teenage Dracut boys who wanted to buy some weed from him.

I first blogged about this last night only moments after it was reported, but I’m swamped tonight, so here is my story on the matter now that I’ve talked to the Deputy Chief about it.

By Robert Mills
rmills@lowellsun.com
DRACUT — A single gunshot was fired into the air in the parking lot of the Englesby Intermediate School on Tuesday night as two teenagers were carjacked during a drug deal gone bad, police said.
Police said a 17-year-old Dracut boy and a 19-year-old Dracut boy told police they arranged to buy marijuana from a drug dealer they had met in Lowell, and that they met the dealer in the parking lot of Family Pizza, 1595 Lakeview Ave., about 9:10 p.m.
The drug dealer arrived in a dark-colored Buick, accompanied by two other men and a woman.
The drug dealer suggested everyone move to the Englesby parking lot within the school complex across the street, since it was dark and secluded during school vacation week, according to Deputy Chief David Chartrand.
The drug dealer and another man got into the back of a red Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by the would-be teenage customers.
The teenagers told police there was an argument over the price of the marijuana, the drug dealer pulled out a silver revolver with a black handle, and demanded the teenage boys hand over their wallets.
Police said the dealer then ordered the teenagers out of the Jeep, told them the gun was real, and fired a single gunshot into the air to prove it. The dealer then got into the Jeep and drove away from the scene with the Buick he arrived in following close behind.
Dracut Police were called to the school complex about 9:30 p.m., and immediately asked surrounding towns to be on the lookout for the Jeep.
The red Jeep was found abandoned on Patricia Lane, near New Boston Road, about 10:30 p.m. It was empty. Police are still searching for the Buick.
Chartrand said neither of the teenage victims is a Dracut High School student. He said the 17-year-old is a high school student, but he declined to identify what school that boy attends.
The drug dealer is described as a Hispanic male, 20 to 23-years-old, 6’2 to 6’3, about 200 pounds, with short, black hair.
The man who got into the Jeep with the drug dealer was a black male, 5’5 to 5’7, about 150 pounds.
The two people who stayed in the Buick were described as a Hispanic male, 19 to 20-years-old, 5’10 to 6 feet tall, about 175 pounds; and a white female, about 5’7, heavyset, with dirty blonde shoulder length hair.
Anyone with information on those individuals is asked to call Dracut Police at 978-957-2123.

More support for Babylon

I think Leyla Al-Zubaydi might be one of the warmest and friendliest people in Lowell.

Al-Zubaydi, who owns Babylon, the Iraqi restaurant at 25 Merrimack Street, in Lowell, hasn’t had the easiest of years. On Jan. 4, around 3 a.m., someone threw a 20-pound rock through the plate glass window at the front of her restaurant.

She, and many other people in Lowell, feared this was a hate crime since the restaurant is clearly labelled in signage as Iraqi.

Photo by Tory Germann

Immediately after the incident, veterans and a local church organized to show support. Occupy Lowell did as well.

Today, the Student Government Association at UMass Lowell rented the restaurant for two hours to make a similar show of support. Among the students who turned out was Mike Hubbard, a 26-year-old freshman from Methuen who served with the 82nd Airborne in Iraq.

Lowell yet again made me really proud of where I live.

Lowell Police have identified a suspect. He is being summonsed to court, and will make his first court appearance in May. He is not being named in public prior to that, which is standard in cases in which people are summonsed.

Leyla said business has been good even when people aren’t holding eat-in events to show support. Many of those who came to the eat-in have been back, a good sign for any restaurant.

“We are doing much better,” Leyla told me. “It’s really amazing how bad things can convert to good things. It’s beautiful. It’s amazing.”