The Police Log is a digest of reports provided by the Johnston and Rhode Island State Police Departments.
The Johnston Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance after a dog was abandoned in the Pet Smart parking lot in Johnston on April 8 around 4 a.m. The male dog was found confined to a tightly secured cardboard box and left unattended. The Chihuahua type dog was around 7-10 years of age, neutered and brownish-tan in color. The dog was examined by a veterinarian, and due to his severe physical condition, a determination was made that it would be best to euthanize the dog after efforts were made to save him.
Anyone with knowledge about a person who might have owned such a dog but no longer has the dog should contact Detective Lopez at (401) 757-3119. The RISPCA is offering a $1,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction. All names will remain anonymous.
Robert Barker, 43, of 150 Larch St. in Woonsocket, was arrested on April 6 at 6 p.m. after a months-long investigation into alleged forgery and obtaining money under false pretenses.
On Nov. 21, 2016, Detective John DeAngelis met with a woman victim at police headquarters who wanted to file a forgery report. She informed the detective that on Aug. 5, 2016, she initially reported the fraud to the North Providence Police Department, but that agency notified her that the crime was committed in Johnston and they did not have jurisdiction to continue their investigation.
The woman explained that on Oct. 20, 2015, Barker fraudulently obtained two checks from her New York Life life insurance policies. The checks were issued in her name and she claimed that Barker signed her name on the endorsement section of the checks. He then deposited the checks into his personal TD Bank checking account. The checks were for $217 and $970.
On Aug. 2, 2016 she was notified by New York Life that in October 2015 two cash loans against her whole life insurance policies in the amounts above were taken. She was provided copies of the checks and determined that someone forged her signature. She recognized the penmanship as Barkers and contacted him to confront him about the incident.
The woman stated that Barker admitted to her that he had fraudulently applied for the loans and had deposited the checks. She added that he did not admit to forging her signature. The officer was also told that she received copies of the loan request forms, which were for the “maximum loan available,” also with forged signatures. The forms and check copies were retained as evidence.
On Nov. 22, 2016, the victim and Barker had a phone conversation, which the woman recorded. During the call, Barker said he intended to pay the money back to avoid prosecution. A recording of the call was also captured for evidence.
Detective DeAngelis contacted TD Bank security to see if video footage was available of the checks being cashed at the Johnston branch, but was informed that footage was not retained for that long. The bank eventually initiated an investigation into the forged checks, and that the bank would file a criminal complaint with the Johnston Police for the offenses.
On April 6, Barker responded to police headquarters for questioning. According to the report, he admitted his involvement in the case. He was then placed under arrest for two counts of forgery and two counts of obtaining money under false pretense. He was arraigned by Justice of the Peace Vaziri with bail set at $5,000 personal recognizance and then given a July 10 pre arraignment date for the charges.
While on patrol on Plainfield Street on April 6 around 6:55 p.m., Officer Matthew Leveilee observed a black vehicle traveling east with an expired inspection sticker. A traffic stop was conducted in the area of 1025 Plainfield Street where the officer met with the driver, identified as Beverly Catala, 35, of 21 Alto St., Apt. 2 in Cranston.
According to the report, background checks revealed that Catala’s license was suspended and that she had an active warrant from the Providence Police Department (PPD) for felony larceny and malicious damage. It was then determined that Providence Police would respond to the scene to take custody of Catala.
She was issued a Third District Court summons for driving with a suspended license, third offense, and a Johnston Municipal Court citation for violation of inspection laws. She was later taken into custody by the PPD and her car was driven from the scene by a licensed passenger. EXPIRED REGISTRATION
On April 4 around 5:37 p.m., Patrolman Richard Varan saw a car traveling east on Central Avenue with an expired registration sticker on the rear license plate. After conducting a traffic stop at the intersection of Central Avenue and Downing Drive, the officer made contact with the driver, identified as Justin Smith, 25, of 9 Standard Ave. Apt. in West Warwick.
Department of Motor Vehicle files revealed that Smith had a suspended license as well as an expired registration. He was placed under arrest and transported to police headquarters where he was processed. Smith’s car was towed and his license plates removed from the vehicle. He was issued a Third District Court summons for driving with an expired registration and driving with a suspended license, and later released.
Officer Michael Protano along with several members of the department responded to 41 Union Ave. on April 8 around 5:19 p.m. in reference to possible town ordinance violations. The anonymous calling party stated that vehicles were being worked on in the street in front of the residence. Officer Protano was familiar with the residence and knew that Steven Sarachione Jr., 31, of the above address, was wanted on a Superior Court bench warrant for failure to appear for cost review on a possession of stolen motor vehicle or parts charge.
The officer noted in his report that the department recently responded to the residence for a similar incident on March 30. Officers knocked on the door of the residence, and were allowed entry. They located Sarachione downstairs, and he was taken into custody without incident. He was taken to police headquarters where he was processed before being taken to the ACI.
Officers observed three unregistered cars on the property that belonged to Sarachione. As a result, he was cited for three counts of town ordinance violations for unregistered vehicles on the property.