By SCOTT JACKSON
Quincy police are investigating several recent larcenies at the YMCA and are also urging residents to take precautions to secure their valuables while at a gym.
The department on Thursday said two individuals were believed to have entered the YMCA, located on Coddington Street, on Feb. 6. While there, police said those two men removed keys from the locker, accessed the victims’ vehicles and then returned the victims’ keys to their lockers. At least one victim reported that his locker was secured with a lock when the theft occurred, police said.
A third individual then used credit cards stolen from those vehicles to make large purchases of cellphones from an area Apple Store the same day, police said.
Anyone with information that may assist in the investigation is asked to contact Lt. Dan Minton at 617-745-5719 or by email at email@example.com. Tips may also be submitted using the MyPD app.
Minton outlined several steps residents can take to protect their valuable while using a public gym like the YMCA:
Don’t bring valuables into the club. Leave items like your wallet, watch, phone, money, jewelry, etc. in your car, well hidden, preferably in the trunk. Won’t they break into my car? The clear majority of car breaks are due to unlocked doors. Parking in a visible, high traffic, well-lit location are all deterrents. It is much safer to leave your valuables in the car than in a health club. (We know what you’re saying to yourself right now… this is exactly what these victims did and their items were stolen. True, but the incidents we describe above are much less likely than your typical thief who is looking to steal items from unsecured lockers.)
The only item you really need is one key to your car and this should be with you at all times, especially if you do not shower at the facility. Tie it to your sneaker laces or secure it to clothing. Do not bring in the car remote. The thief with the remote can locate your car and access it, drive off and even break into your house while you are unaware as you work out.
When showering, be sure to secure your locker during that brief period of time. If you follow the suggestions above and only have a car key, hide the key within your belongings (inside a sock – who wants to look in there!). You could also covertly pin the key to the towel that you bring to the shower area.
Use a quality padlock on your locker with a combination lock, not a key lock. Don’t buy a $5 lock to secure a $500 phone.
Thieves sometimes bring in bolt cutters to cut through the thin metal in the lock, hitting numerous lockers at once. Again, use a quality padlock.
Pick the locker closest to the locker room entrance/exit. It has the most pedestrian traffic and is most visible.
At some health clubs, there are smaller lockers in plain view. Some members believe in the honor system or believe that no one would steal in plain view. It is easy for someone to open numerous locker doors pretending to look for an available one and then take out a valuable sitting in a particular locker.
If you need to bring in valuables, such as a cell phone, etc., consider using a fanny pack, which can be kept with you at all times with the exception of the shower. Keep in mind that thieves know that valuables are kept in fanny packs too!
As always, report suspicious activity to staff and other members. You don’t have to wait until someone steals a valuable to take action. Let a staff member monitor or question a person who is acting oddly. By reporting a loss due to theft, it helps management and the local police department create a pattern such as a time period and specific items being taken. It also helps law enforcement in reviewing video from security cameras for suspects.
Get creative! Disguise an empty hygiene container into a hiding place for valuables!
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is advising members of the public traveling to plan ahead, take advantage of MassDOT’s many travel “real time” tools and consider using public transportation this coming weekend if possible.
Monday, Feb. 18, is a holiday for some employees and school districts will have the week off for February vacation.
On Monday, Feb. 18, Commonwealth of Massachusetts offices are closed, including Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) customer service locations, and on Monday the MBTA subway, bus and commuter rail lines will be running on Saturday schedules. In addition, on Monday there will be no deployment of the I-93 High Occupancy Vehicle Lane (HOV) between Quincy and Boston.
Due to an increase in anticipated travel on Friday, Feb. 15, the HOV lane from Quincy to Boston will open earlier than usual in the afternoon, from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. and the Sumner Tunnel Swing Lane will be open from 1 p.m. on Friday, through 5 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 19.
“Safety is the most important priority and we would like to remind members of the public to anticipate higher volumes of traffic than usual on the roadways and to build additional time into schedules to reach destinations,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “We encourage everyone to think about traveling during off-peak hours, consider taking public transportation, and check the MassDOT social media pages and online tools to find ‘real time’ travel information.”
“This is a perfect time for travelers to utilize every available travel technology tool to plan their journey such as mass511.com, phoning 511, or downloading the MassDOT GoTime traffic condition app,” said Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver. “We advise all members of the public to make smart, informed decisions in order to minimize congestion and reduce delays, and we ask for all individuals to prioritize safe, sober driving, drive the speed limit, and put cell phones away while driving.”
For traffic and road conditions, drivers may use the following options to make decisions:
• Download MassDOT’s GoTime mobile app and view real-time traffic conditions before setting out on the road.
• Dial 511 and select a route to hear real-time conditions on I-90 and other roads.
• Visit www.mass511.com, a website which provides real-time traffic and incident advisory information, and allows users to subscribe to text and email alerts for traffic conditions.
• Download Waze, the real-time traffic navigation app that provides motorists with real-time traffic conditions across Massachusetts.
• Follow MassDOT on Twitter @MassDOT because motor vehicle incidents which impact traffic flow are generally mentioned in tweets if they occur on the state’s major highways.
The MBTA has released the following information regarding travel on President’s Day, Monday, Feb. 18:
• All subway and commuter rail lines, buses, and trackless trolley will operate on a Saturday schedule.
• All ferries and boats will operate on a normal weekday schedule.
• The RIDE will operate on a Saturday schedule.
• The CharlieCard store at Downtown Crossing in Boston will be closed.
• For full MBTA schedule details, visit: www.mbta.com/holidays.
Customers are also advised that the Registry of Motor Vehicles offices are closed for the designated state holiday of President’s Day on Monday, Feb. 18. Visit at any hour of the day the RMV online at www.massrmv.com to skip the line and perform many transactions. In addition, AAA members now have the opportunity to conduct many RMV services at 33 AAA branch office locations in Massachusetts during AAA normal business hours.
The High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane on I-93 between Boston and Quincy will have normal morning hours this week and will extend its afternoon hours on Thursday, February 14, to be open from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. and on Friday, Feb. 15, to be open from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. The HOV lane will not be deployed on Monday, Feb. 18. The HOV lane will be open on Tuesday, Feb. 19, during normal weekday hours.
The Sumner Tunnel Swing Lane will be open throughout the holiday weekend beginning at 1 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 15 until it closes at 5 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 19.
MassDOT’s Highway Assistance Program, sponsored by MAPFRE, will be increasing patrols on all major roadways to support roadside assistance needs. Requests for assistance can be initiated by calling 911.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation wishes all members of the public a safe and enjoyable holiday.
Quincy Recreation Director Michelle Hanly announces the Quincy Recreation Department will offer two Sports & More – Parent’s Night Out Programs during February School Vacation.
The program for boys and girls in Grades 2-8 will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 20th and Thursday, Feb. 21st from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Central Middle School Gym. The cost of the program is $5 per session.
The Sports & More – Parent’s Night Out Program provides traditional activities under supervision that will include group games and organized play like dodge ball, “Minute to Win It” contest, arts and crafts, sports and more. This recreational experience will be planned and informal; spontaneous, and organized with plenty of fun. Supervision will be provided by members of the Quincy Recreation Department Staff.
Registration can be done at the door by an adult. For additional information call 617-376-1394 or visit www.QuincyRec.com.
By SCOTT JACKSON
A 33-year-old Boston man has been charged with breaking and entering into 19 homes across Greater Boston over the past five months, including seven in Quincy.
Jargle Soto-Suazo, 33, of Boston, is believed to be responsible for the uptick in housebreaks in the communities of Medford, Brookline, Quincy, Watertown and Arlington, law enforcement officials, including Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan and Quincy Police Chief Paul Keenan, announced Monday. Police departments across Middlesex and Norfolk Counties have been investigating the reported crimes since September 2018.
Soto-Suazo was apprehended following an alleged break-in that occurred in Brookline on Feb. 7, officials said. As part of the ongoing joint investigation into the alleged burglaries, police from multiple departments located the defendant displaying suspicious behavior in the area of Colbourne Street in Brookline. Police subsequently identified signs of an apparent break-in at a home in a neighborhood where Brookline Police had allegedly seen the suspect leaving moments earlier. The defendant was arrested as he was leaving the scene.
A search warrant was then executed on the defendant’s Boston home and vehicle that allegedly resulted in authorities discovering multiple items, including several watches, small jewelry items, a firearm and an iPad, that were reportedly stolen from residences across multiple communities, officials said. The preliminary investigation suggests that the defendant entered the residences through second story windows between the hours of 4 p.m. and 11 p.m. using a pry bar. In several instances, residents of the homes were present during the break-ins.
Soto-Suazo was charged in connection with 19 burglaries on Monday, including seven in Quincy, six in Brookline, four in Medford and one each in Arlington and Watertown. Charges include multiple counts of breaking and entering in the nighttime to commit a felony, attempted breaking and entering, possession of burglarious tools and receiving stolen property, officials said. The investigation into this matter is ongoing and investigators are also looking at recent reported burglaries in Belmont and Winchester. Additional charges may follow.
Soto-Suazo was arraigned on several charges in Brookline District Court, where he pleaded not guilty, officials said; he was ordered held on $40,000 cash bail.
Soto-Suazo is expected to be arraigned in Middlesex County and Quincy District Court this week on additional charges.