Court documents indicate that on Jan. 20 Baggetta met with Haverhill police Detective John Moses and both visited the detail shop, finding the 2005 black Mercedes in the parking lot. Baggetta ran a check on the car’s vehicle identification number, learning it had been reported stolen to the Amesbury police in late October 2011.
Officers spoke with the garage owner, Matthew P. McAuliffe, 41, of Old Groveland Road, Haverhill, who said the Mercedes belonged to one of his friends, Eric Bernardini, and it was being stored at the shop for the winter. When told of the tip police received, according to Baggetta’s report, McAuliffe expressed anger at Bernardini.
McAuliffe provided an initial written statement concerning how the car got to his Haverhill garage, stating it was being stored while its owner was in Florida for the winter. McAuliffe said three months prior to the police visit he’d run into Bernardini, who asked if the facility could store his car. McAuliffe said he agreed storage could take place for $500, adding he’d known Bernardini for a long time.
According to one of McAuliffe’s employee, the car was dropped off in late October or early November of 2011 by a man.
Baggetta recovered the vehicle and had it towed to an impound lot, where the car was examined and items within it inventoried.
According to Amesbury police officer Jason Kooken’s report, on Oct. 28, 2011, he was sent to Planet Fitness about 8:30 p.m. to take a report of a stolen car. Upon arrival, Jennifer Bernardini said she’d arrived at the gym around 6 p.m. to work out. When she was ready to leave, she couldn’t find her husband’s Mercedes in the parking lot where she left it. She said she had only one set of keys and the car had been freshly painted.