Police: Massachusetts trio burglarized string of South End homes for drug money
Brandon Seeley, 25, of Malden, Mass.
Robert Cappella, 24, of Chelmsford, Mass.
Nicole Taylor, 39, of Billerica, Mass.
Three Massachusetts residents charged with breaking into a string of South End homes Tuesday targeted Concord after they saw recent news reports about crimes in the city and believed the police would be too busy with those cases to catch them, a prosecutor said in court yesterday. The individuals – 25-year-old Brandon Seeley, 24-year-old Robert Cappella and 39-year-old Nicole Taylor – planned to pawn the stolen items to pay for a heroin habit that cost them several hundred dollars a day, according to the prosecutor.
Four homes were burglarized and the group attempted to enter a fifth, all between about 9 a.m. and noon, according to the police, who said the break-ins resembled about a dozen other residential burglaries in the city during March and April. At Concord’s district court yesterday, where each was arraigned and ordered held on cash bail, prosecutor Tracy Connolly said more charges are possible.
According to the police, the trio was arrested shortly after a person on Allison Street reported at 11:09 a.m. that a white male had just run out from the backyard of her neighbor’s house. The caller also noted a red sedan parked in the street and gave the police a partial license plate number. The police said that car and the burglars were gone by the time officers arrived, but the vehicle was spotted about an hour later near South Street.
Seeley, Cappella and Taylor were inside the vehicle, according to the police, who said bags, jewelry and computers were within plain view inside the car.
Four other burglaries were reported over the next several hours, said Concord police Lt. Timothy O’Malley, who added that several homeowners discovered the break-ins after getting home from work. He said the police believe the group is responsible for all of the break-ins, which took place on Broadway, and Norwich, Pillsbury and Allison streets.
Homeowners reported the following items as stolen: laptops, a Kindle, an iPad, a jar of change, a gold watch and various pieces of jewelry.
According to an affidavit in the case, Seeley admitted to breaking into two homes and told detectives that each in the group had an assigned role, with Taylor acting as a lookout, Cappella driving the car and himself entering the homes.
Seeley later drove with a detective to point out several of the homes he burglarized, according to the affidavit.
He and Taylor both told the police they have committed other residential burglaries in Massachusetts, with the woman saying they had broken into several homes a week for the past few months. Seeley told detectives he and Taylor were arrested by the Lynn, Mass., police for burglary last month.
Cappella denied having any knowledge of the burglaries, according to the affidavit, and told detectives he had driven to Concord so Seeley could pick something up from a relative. (In court yesterday, Cappella told the judge the trip was so Seeley could pay “for a previous cash bail.”)
Cappella later admitted that he had driven Seeley to three houses and that at one point there was so much property in the back seat that Taylor complained she didn’t have room to sit.
“Robert insisted that he was no part of the plan and that Nicole and Brandon must have planned the entire thing without his knowledge,” a detective wrote in the affidavit.
Taylor also initially told the police that Seeley was in Concord visiting a relative but later admitted to coming here to commit burglaries, according to the police. She told the police the group had stayed in Concord longer than they planned when they didn’t get as much stuff from the first few homes as they had hoped.
When Taylor was first interviewed where the police stopped their car, an officer saw two silver rings on the grass near her feet and then found a bag of gold jewelry in her pocket. While a detective believed Taylor had dropped the rings in order to hide them, she denied that being her intention, saying it wouldn’t make sense for her to drop two rings but hold onto the other jewelry, according to the affidavit.
O’Malley said these crimes resemble several others in Concord over the past few months, in particular five daytime burglaries committed over the course of a few hours April 5.
“The similarities to that are notable because it was the same sort of thing where it was just a rash over one short period of time,” O’Malley said.
He added that many of the homes broken into April 5 and Tuesday were entered through front doors hidden by porches.
Cappella, who is from Chelmsford, Mass., is being held on $110,000 cash bail. Seeley, of Malden, Mass., is being held on the same amount. The bail for Taylor, who is from Billerica, Mass., was set at $60,000 cash.
All three are scheduled for probable cause hearings, where a judge will decide whether there is enough evidence for the cases against them to be sent to a grand jury May 28.
In all, the group is charged with 28 felonies.
Seeley is facing four counts of burglary, five counts of conspiracy to commit burglary and one count each of receiving stolen property and attempt to commit burglary. Cappella has been charged with five counts each of conspiracy to commit burglary and criminal liability for the conduct of another, as well as one charge of receiving stolen property. Taylor is facing five counts of conspiracy to commit burglary and one of receiving stolen property.