By SCOTT JACKSON
Quincy police say a 30-year-old Spear Street resident was recently caught with eight stolen bicycles worth a combined $7,500.
Police were dispatched to Marina Drive on the morning of Sept. 14 after a maintenance supervisor said he saw a vehicle linked to bike thefts drive by. He described the vehicle as an old red Jeep, and was able to provide officers with a partial Vermont license place. A second witness said she had seen a “scruffy” male in his late 30s or 40s driving the same Jeep with several bikes in the back. Officers also reviewed video surveillance and observed a male matching the description given by witness loading bikes into the back of the Jeep.
Soon after, a victim of the bicycle thefts came forward and described his bicycle as a red Specialized brand valued at $3,000.
Later that same day, an anti-crime officer received information that the suspect vehicle was spotted on Spear Street. Numerous checks were made over the next several days, to no avail.
On Monday, the officer again checked the house and saw a male matching the description of the suspect exiting the residence. The officer also observed a red Jeep Cherokee with Vermont plates on Granville Street. He notified a detective and the left the area to avoid detection.
When the detective arrived on scene, the male suspect was seen riding the red Specialized bike that had been reported stolen. Police then approached the suspect who volunteered to speak with officers and repeatedly stated the bike was his. The detective took a picture of the bike and sent it to the victim, who confirmed the bike was in fact his based on markings on it. At this point, police said the suspect confessed the bike was stolen and that he owned the Jeep. The suspect was then transported to an address on Parker Street, where more bikes were recovered.
The suspect, Bret Martinson, 30, of Spear Street, was charged with five counts of receiving stolen property valued over $250 and three counts of larceny from a building. Police said he could face additional charges once more victims are identified.
Martinson was arraigned Thursday in Quincy District, where he pleaded not guilty to the charges. Martinson was released without bail and is due back in court Nov. 10.
Police are looking to identify the owners of the two of the bikes that were recovered. If you were the victim of a bike theft in the Marina Bay area, you can contact Det. Chuck Landry at firstname.lastname@example.org or Jamie Karvelis at email@example.com.
By SCOTT JACKSON
The City Council’s finance committee on Wednesday approved a $3.55 million bond to pay for a new animal shelter after several members balked at ponying up the full $7.1 million Mayor Thomas Koch requested before schematic designs for the 21,000 square foot building are completed.
The committee also approved Koch’s request for a $2.3 million bond to finance a citywide traffic and parking study and a $2.7 million bond to purchase the former St. Mary School on Crescent Street, where the mayor hopes to build a new elementary school.
All three items require final council approval on Oct. 2.
Koch had proposed constructing the new animal shelter on a city-owned parcel of land on Quarry Street this spring as part of his latest capital plan; the city will also build a dog park on site using funds from a $27 million bond, funded by hotel tax receipts, which was approved in May.
The 21,000 square foot building will include space for the new Quincy Animal Shelter, as well as a spay/neuter clinic, the Quincy Police Department’s K9 Unit, and the city’s animal control officer.
Koch had sought a $7.1 million bond to pay for the project, including schematic design of the new building. Several councillors were hesitant to approve the full request without the schematic design being completed, though all agreed a new animal shelter is much needed. Ward 4 Councillor Brian Palmucci proposed cutting the bond amount in half after Councillor Joseph Finn raised concerns about the lack of a schematic design.
“I’m in the private, non-profit world,” Finn said. “If I appear before my board of directors and said give me x amount of capital dollars to go up and do this and I didn’t have a single rendering for them or at that point show some conceptual design…I’d get laughed out.”
Warren Freedenfeld, the architect retained by the city to design the new building, said he understood that some councillors might want to see renderings before approving funding, and that approach would be OK.
“I can appreciate your wanting to see what it is you’re funding. It’s like going to an auto dealer and saying ‘I want to buy a car, can I see it?’” Freedenfeld said. “Taking a step-by-step approach should be fine.”
Councillors approved Palmucci’s amendment was approved in a 6-2 vote with Brad Croall, Noel DiBona, Kirsten Hughes and Nina Liang joining Finn and Palmucci in favor of it; William Harris and Margaret Laforest were opposed, and Ian Cain was not in attendance.
Harris said the project had been strongly supported – both by constituents in his ward and at a public hearing that took place two nights prior to the committee meeting. Laforest said that Freedenfeld had completed a 12-page document that details the breakdown of floor space in the new building.
The committee then unanimously approved the $3.55 million bond.
The bond orders to pay for the traffic and parking study and the purchase of the former St. Mary School were both approved unanimously as well.
Michael Coffey, the director of the city department responsible for traffic, said the purpose of the traffic study has shifted after several councillors had raised concerns about its scope in the spring. The study is now more focused on “delivering some near-term traffic flow and safety improvements and also on qualifying the city for state and federal grants to pay for the improvements,” as opposed to an analysis of traffic, parking, pedestrian and bicycle issues in the city, Coffey said.
The city will work with AECOM, an engineering firm, to complete a complete streets policy for Quincy and apply for MassDOT complete streets funds. The city will also work with the engineering firm on road safety audits, which could make the city eligible for additional grants, and complete an audit of every traffic signal in Quincy to determine which ones are most in need of replacing.
Coffey said the bond also includes about $1.5 million for design and construction of improvements, which will cover the city’s share for projects receiving grant funding.
Quincy and the Archdiocese of Boston have a purchase and sale agreement already in place for the St. Mary School, Solicitor Jim Timmins said. Timmins said the school was appraised for about $2.5 million this spring, and had an assessed value of $3.26 million in 2016.
Koch has said he plans to seek funding from the Massachusetts School Building Authority to pay for a portion of the cost of the constructing the new school. Timmins said the city is looking at possible interim uses for the site before work on the new school begins.
By SCOTT JACKSON
Five men were due to be arraigned Wednesday in Quincy District Court on drug and gun charges after they were arrested by Quincy police Tuesday evening.
Members of the department’s Drug Control Unit were conducting surveillance in Quincy Point Tuesday after receiving recent complaints, police said. Shortly after 5 p.m., detectives observed what they believed to be a drug deal take place between the occupants of two vehicles in the parking lot of Cleverly Court Park. Officers recognized one of the individuals involved from previous drug investigations.
Officers then approved a Nissan Maxima parked in the lot and ordered the four occupants to exit the vehicle. Police said one suspect, later identified as Daequian Ruffin, took off running while exiting the vehicle. Ruffin was apprehended following a brief foot chase and offices found a loaded Ruger .380 handgun with an obliterated serial number while searching his jacket. A second handgun, a Ruger SR22, was found when officers searched the maxima.
Ruffin, a 21-year-old resident of Tina Street in Brockton, was charged with illegal possession of a firearm, possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony, possession of a firearm with a defaced serial number, illegal possession of ammunition, possession of a class B substance (cocaine) with intent to distribute, drug violation within 100 feet of a park, resisting arrest and possession of alcohol in a park.
The four others facing charges are:
Jesse Collins, 25, of Nelson Street Dorchester. Collins was charged with illegal possession of a firearm, possession of a firearm with defaced serial number, illegal possession of ammunition, possession of a class B substance (cocaine), and possession of alcohol in a park.
Elijah Marcelo, 20, of Westomore Street in Mattapan. Marcelo was charged with possession of a class B substance (cocaine) and possession of alcohol in a park.
Mohammed Alkhatib, 26, of Chubbuck Street in Quincy. He was charged with possession with intent to distribute a class D substance (marijuana) and drug violation with 100 feet of a park.
Giovani Cesar, 28, of Bower Road, Quincy. He was charged with possession of a class B substance (cocaine) subsequent offense, possession of a class C substance (MDMA) subsequent offense, and two default warrants.
Sgt. Karyn Barkas said a total of 84 grams of marijuana, 11 bags of cocaine, and bag of MDMA, also known by the street name Molly, were seized, along with about $1,800 in cash.
By SCOTT JACKSON
A Quincy Point karaoke bar has received the go-ahead from the city’s licensing board to serve hard alcohol in addition to beer and wine.
The Board of License Commissioners on Tuesday granted an all-alcohol license to Jazz Moon Karaoke, which operates inside the Kam Man Plaza at 217 Quincy Ave.
The karaoke bar previously had a beer and wine license. The licensing board in April had imposed a five-day suspension on Jazz Moon Karaoke, with three days to serve, after Quincy police found 77 bottles of liquor on site and menus featuring cocktails made with hard alcohol while investigating the near-fatal stabbing of the bar’s owner, Jasmine Le, in February. The stabbing remains under investigation.
Police Lt. Peter Turowski, the department’s liquor inspector, said at the time Jazz Moon Karaoke had no other infractions in recent years. The bar has been open for 13 years.
William Phelan, Le’s attorney and a former mayor of Quincy, said Jazz Moon Karaoke is facing increased competition and the all alcohol license would increase business, which he said has dropped precipitously this year.
“Jasmine has lived in Quincy for the past 13 years. She has two children she’s raising as a single mother now, divorced, and trying to make ends meet,” Phelan said. “This change in category will certainly go a long way in assisting her to do that.”
The bartenders at Jazz Moon Karaoke will be TIPS certified, Phelan said. Turowski offered to provide Le with contact information for a TIPS instructor she could use to train any new employees.
The licensing board unanimously approved the request for an all-alcohol license.
“I know you experienced a setback; it was difficult for you,” Fire Chief Joseph Barron said. “I wish you the best of luck.”
In other business Tuesday, the board granted a common victualler license to Unchained Pizza, which operates inside the strip mall at 550 Adams St.
The popular pizzeria was forced to close after the roof of the building it is located in collapsed amid record-breaking snowstorms in February 2015. The building at 550 Adams St. was one of at least five in the city whose roof collapsed after nearly 100 inches of snow fell during a four-week period starting in late January of that year.
Unchained Pizza was allowed to re-open in late August because it had previously been operating in the city for several years, but was required to come before the board for the new license, which was quickly granted.
The board also granted a pair of common victualler licenses to pizza shops who will be operating under new ownership going forward – Quincy House of Pizza at 379 Washington St. and Copeland Street Subs and Pizza at 150 Copeland St. The new owners of both said no changes are planned at the eateries.
In additional business, the board continued until Sept. 26 a request for a special use/all-alcohol permit for the ghost ship planned at the USS Salem in the weeks before Halloween.
Fright Island LLC is seeking to run the ghost ship from Sept. 29 to Oct. 31 and hopes to open for 19 days during that time. The ghost ship would be open Thursdays to Sundays, except for the final week when it would be Wednesday to Monday for Halloween. The proposed hours are 7 p.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays and 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. on other nights.
Ward 2 Councillor Brad Croall had requested the hearing on the proposal be continued to next week’s meeting so he could learn more about the plans.
By SCOTT JACKSON
North Quincy High School’s football game on Friday against Archbishop Williams High School will be played at Veterans’ Memorial Stadium as originally planned.
The game kicks off at 7 p.m.
School officials on Tuesday said the game would be moved to Creedon Field in North Quincy and start at 4 p.m., but late Tuesday afternoon announced it would be played at Veterans’ Memorial Stadium at 7 p.m. as it was first scheduled.
The Red Raiders are coming off of a 37-30 road win over Saugus on Saturday, North’s first win of the season.
Quincy High School’s football team travels to Silver Lake this Saturday for a 2:30 p.m. showdown with the Lakers.