, Newburyport, MA

October 3, 2013

Couple sentenced to jail in home break-ins


---- — NEWBURYPORT — A husband and wife team Salisbury police believed responsible for a rash of thefts from empty vacation homes were found guilty recently.

With a last-known address of Michael’s Oceanside Motel on Central Avenue in Salisbury Beach, Christopher Lavalley, 29, was convicted on Monday of three counts of felony breaking and entering a building during the daytime, two counts of malicious destruction of property worth more than $250 and two counts of larceny from a building.

Pleading guilty, for each count he was sentenced to two years in the house of correction, 18 months to be served and the balance suspended with two years probation and the payment of restitution for an amount to be determined. The sentences are to be served concurrently.

His wife, Kimberly Lavalley, 25, pleaded guilty to one count each of larceny over $250, larceny of a motor vehicle and felony breaking and entering. She was sentenced concurrently on each charge to one year in the house of correction, 129 days to be and deemed served, with the balance suspended with two years probation conditioned upon remaining drug and alcohol free and completing the level 3 program at the Office of Community Corrections.

Dozens of other similar theft-related charges lodged against the couple were dismissed on Monday, including multiple charges of felony breaking and entering, larceny, malicious destruction of property, vandalism of property and motor vehicle larceny.

According to prosecutors, charges were dismissed because they could not be proven without a reasonable doubt at this time. However, the charges were dismissed without prejudice, which means they can be reinstated at a future time.

The Lavalleys came to the attention of Salisbury police in January after thefts took place at a number of residences on Central Avenue. According to the police report filed with court documents, police responded to a residential burglar alarm at 68 Central Ave. and found several adjacent structures had been burglarized. Using a police dog to track shoe impressions, evidence led them to the couple.

According to court documents, the Lavalleys implicated another man, Richard McPhee, of Haverhill, as being the mastermind in the burglaries. However, after he was arrested, McPhee then pointed the finger at the Lavalleys.

According to court documents, the defendants were stealing scrap metal and other valuables to redeem for cash to support their heroin addictions.