Members of the Wellesley Police Department’s Warrant Apprehension Team are charged with serving outstanding arrest warrants stemming from criminal charges. When a suspect is charged with a crime, and fails to appear in court, or does not answer a criminal summons, Dedham District Court will issue an arrest warrant. In most cases, a phone call from a member of the Warrant Apprehension Team to the suspect usually results in the suspect going to court and clearing up the warrant without an arrest being made.
However, there are those suspects that simply refuse to go to court to answer the criminal charges against them. In those cases, members of the team locate the suspect, whether in Wellesley or out of town, and then make the arrest, bringing the suspect to court. The team frequently works with other police departments to facilitate these arrests. An arrest warrant issued by a court allows Wellesley Police officers to make arrests anywhere in the Commonwealth.
Suspects sometimes go to great lengths to avoid being arrested by the Wellesley Police Department. Suspects may not have a permanent residence, and may be transient in nature, going from place to place and having no permanent place to stay. These suspects are difficult to arrest.
Such was the case of Donald Digiacomo, a contractor that allegedly defrauded a Wellesley resident of $275. In addition, he was an unlicensed home improvement contractor during that same time frame. In October of 2009, Officer Tim Dennehy investigated a complaint from a resident who had given Mr. Digiacomo a check for $275 to do some work on his home. Mr. Digiacomo never did the work, nor did he return any phone calls once he cashed the check. Officer Dennehy went to great lengths to contact Mr. Digiacomo about the complaint, but Mr. Digiacomo never returned Officer Dennehy’s phone calls and refused to speak with him.
Officer Dennehy also discovered that Mr. Digiacomo’s contractor’s license had expired with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Officer Dennehy filed charges in Dedham District Court for larceny over $250 (a felony) and being an unlicensed home improvement contractor (a misdemeanor).
Mr. Digiacomo did not appear in court when he was summonsed and an arrest warrant was issued by the court. Efforts to reach Mr. Digiacomo by the team were also unsuccessful, as Mr. Digiacomo had several addresses, but none appeared to be permanent. The team did learn that Mr. Digiacomo may be living in the Millis area, but had been unable to locate him to effect the arrest.
Not discouraged, and thinking on the creative side of things, Officer Ron Poirier figured that perhaps they could use Mr. Digiacomo’s business sense to locate and arrest him. Officer Poirier and Sgt. Showstead came up with a ruse. Officer Poirier was aware that coworker Sergeant Scott Whittemore had just sold his Dover Road home in Millis, but the property hadn’t changed hands yet, and the house was vacant. Sgt. Whittemore was more than willing to have his old house used as a ruse for a Wellesley Police arrest, and gave the team his blessing.
Officer Ty Mao then called Mr. Digiacomo, and left a message claiming his name was “Mike” and that the Millis house needed emergency roof repairs after the recent set of storms. Mr. Digiacomo, who previously had been unreachable, quickly called Officer Mao back and told him he would meet him right away to give an estimate. Ironically, the home did need a new roof.
Officer Ron Poirier waited on the steps to Sgt. Whittemore’s house, pretending to be “Mike the home owner” while Sgt. Scott Showstead, Officer Lamars Hughes, and Officer Ty Mao set up in the neighborhood. Officer Poirier didn’t have to wait long. Mr. Digiacomo arrived a few minutes later, anxious to give an estimate and all smiles as he introduced himself.
Officer Poirier, in civilian clothes, displayed his badge, and announced he was a Wellesley Police officer, placing Mr. Digiacomo under arrest. The rest of the team arrived seconds later to ensure Mr. Digiacomo didn’t flee. Mr. Digiacomo was taken into custody without incident, and transported back to Wellesley, where he was booked. Mr. Digiacomo was taken to Dedham District Court to be arraigned on charges of larceny over $250 and running an unlicensed home contracting business.
Officer Poirier reported the successful arrest to Sgt. Whittemore, noting “He was extremely surprised to say the least when I told him he was under arrest.”