Open and gross lewdness while armed.

Sunday morning, about 1 a.m., police were called to an apartment complex on Princeton Boulevard for a report of a suspicious person on a balcony.

The caller gave police a description of the suspicious person, and Officer Dan Demaris soon arrived to find a man fitting that description in a parking lot nearby.

That man, later identified as Travis Bell, 24, of 29 Nelson St., in Lowell, fled from Demaris, but was arrested after a short foot chase and brief struggle, according to police.

During a follow up investigation, officers learned Bell had been seen masturbating in one of the building’s doorways, and that he had been buzzing apartments in the building and saying “inappropriate things” to women who would answer, according to police.

Officers found a knife in Bell’s pocket, according to police. Continue reading


Why you should read my blog

I took two photographs of Ricardo Colon as he was getting arrested tonight. He asked who that “geek” and *expletive deleted* taking pictures was.

If only he had known.

Last night, about two hours after the Country Farms at 56 Aiken Avenue in Lowell was robbed at gunpoint, I identified Mr. Colon, who is 24, as a suspect police said was arrestable for armed robbery while masked.

Here’s a link to the entry if you don’t recall.

If Colon read the good ole blog, perhaps he would have known multiple detectives, armed with an arrest warrant, would be showing up at his home this evening. I guess he’s not a fan. Continue reading

Billerica Realtor faces life in prison

If the Suffolk DA and Boston Police homicide detectives are correct, Billerica Realtor Michael Balba has some dark secrets.

And they’re not about a leaky roof or a ranch house with a faulty foundation.

Mugshot courtesy WHDH-TV.

Michael Balba, 55, of Billerica, who it appears works as a realtor in town, is being held on four counts of perjury following his indictment by a Suffolk County grand jury investigating the slaying of 22-year-old college student Rebecca Payne.

Payne was found shot to death in her Mission Hill apartment on May 20, 2008.

A 30-year-old Boston man, Cornell Smith, was indicted for first degree murder, armed assault in a dwelling, and unlawful possession of a firearm in connection with the killing.

Suffolk County DA Daniel Conley announced both indictments on Sunday.

Conley said in a prepared statement, viewable here, that Balba was arrested on Saturday by Boston homicide detectives. He didn’t say where the arrest occurred, and neither Boston nor Billerica police would comment. I’m not sure if he was arrested in Billerica.

Someone who answered the phone at a listed number for Michael Balba in Billerica tonight declined to comment, saying only that Michael Balba wasn’t home. I left my number in case a family member or attorney wants to tell Balba’s side of this sometime soon.

Balba faces up to life in prison for each of the four counts of perjury. Perjury, if committed during a murder investigation, is punishable by up to life. Here’s the relevant MGL. Continue reading

Armed robbery in Centralville

Police just went off at Country Farms, 56 Aiken Avenue, in Lowell, because a Hispanic male in a red bandana and a black hoodie pulled a black handgun and robbed the store.

He got away with cash and a cell phone, according to radio broadcasts.

Police are looking for a two-door, green motor vehicle the suspect was seen getting in. The vehicle is driven by a woman. The vehicle was last seen fleeing up Exeter Street.

Police have a green motor stopped nearby, but it’s not clear if its the right car yet. Three people in the car. This car was eventually let go.

A state police helicopter was randomly in the area, patrolling over Littleton, and the chopper has volunteered to join the search. Continue reading

MedFlight called for Tyngsboro crash

A 27-year-old Tyngsboro woman who’s 2002 Buick drifted off the side of Parham Road in Tyngsboro early this morning was flown to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center with serious, but reportedly non life-threatening injuries.

Tyngsboro Police said they were called to Parham Road near Birchmont Avenue, near the Dracut line, at 1:59 a.m., after witnesses reported the Buick drifted off the right side of the road and snapped a telephone pole in two.

Alaina  Herr, 27, of Village Lane, was unconscious in the vehicle and severely injured. She was flown to Beth Israel by MedFlight. She was still in surgery this morning at 9 a.m., but a hospital spokesman told me just now that she has been stabilized.

Deputy Police Chief Richard Burrows tells me alcohol does not appear to be a factor.

I realized I was with a maniac

A court officer from Lowell Juvenile Court was arraigned in Cambridge today on a single count of annoying or accosting a person of the opposite sex. Here’s my story on the allegations.

LOWELL — A 34-year-old Lynn man is suspended from his job as a court officer in Lowell Juvenile Court as he faces accusations he sexually propositioned a married female juror while he was on duty and alone with the woman in a locked room.
Matthew Laurino, 34, of Lynn, was released on personal recognizance after he was arraigned today in Cambridge District Court on a single count of annoying or accosting a person of the opposite sex. He was ordered to have no contact with the alleged victim.

Lowell Juvenile Court

Laurino’s arraignment was moved to the Cambridge court to avoid conflicts since Laurino works in a court in Lowell, according to Jessica Pastore, a spokeswoman for District Attorney Gerard Leone.
The alleged victim, who’s name is redacted from court records, was serving as an alternate juror in Lowell Juvenile Court on December 7 and 8. That woman told police that during lunch on December 8, she was separated from six other jurors involved in the case they were hearing since she was the alternate juror.
Laurino, a court officer, took the woman to a room to eat lunch, locked the door, and asked the woman out, according to court records. The woman told Laurino she would not go out with him, and that she was married, according to court records.
Laurino then asked her, repeatedly, if she wanted to see his penis, and began pulling the zipper on his pants up and down, according to court records.
The woman said in a written statement that she noticed Laurino had an erection and that she feared she was going to be raped. The woman described Laurino as standing about 6’5.
The woman said Laurino also asked her to remove her top and clothes for him, according to court records.
“I realized I was with a maniac, a mentally sick person with a badge who is capable of anything,” the unidentified juror wrote in a description of the incident. “I thought I was safe in a courthouse, but no I was not.” Continue reading

Three life sentences

Below is a picture one of my editors, Jon Hill, took in Woburn Superior Court this afternoon. It is of Ariel Hernandez, 24, of Lowell.

Why is he smirking?

Hernandez was just sentenced to three life sentences. Two of those life sentences come with no chance for parole, and must be served consecutively.

Unless his convictions are overturned, Mr. Hernandez will die in prison. Keep smiling pal. Continue reading