By Dave Rogers
---- — AMESBURY – For nine months, dozens of residents in a Main Street neighborhood found their cars and homes broken into and belongings stolen, while police searched fruitlessly for the culprit.
Police say they finally broke the case open this week, arresting a man who allegedly stole from his neighbors to support a drug addiction.
Police charged Kerry J. Lambert, 37, of 278 Main St., Apt. B, Amesbury, with 28 counts of multiple offenses including nighttime breaking and entering, larceny from a building, 12 breaking and entering of a motor vehicle charges, five larceny over $250 charges and larceny under $250, seven counts.
Lambert was arraigned yesterday in Newburyport District Court and is being held on $10,000 cash bail. He is due back in court Aug. 19 for a pretrial hearing.
Amesbury police Lt. Kevin Donovan said the charges reflect only 12 incidents but police believe he is responsible for at least 30 housebreaks and car breaks since September.
“There’s more coming,” Donovan said, referring to charges.
Based on evidence and testimony, police obtained a search warrant for Lambert’s apartment last Friday and recovered 83 items reported stolen including sunglasses, small electronics, cash and tools. Lambert visited the Amesbury police station Monday for an interview and was arrested.
Donovan said it appears Lambert didn’t sell the stolen items at pawn shops but traded them in exchange for drugs.
According to police, Lambert’s crime spree began in Sept., 2012, shortly after he moved into Amesbury from another North Shore community. For weeks police responded to burglaries all concentrating at homes around Lambert’s Main Street apartment. The apartment is in an old house that has several subsidized housing units, and is owned by Newburyport-based non-profit agency Housing Support Inc.
Lambert would then lay low for months before another rash of thefts took place. Donovan said it appears one of the lulls coincided with a stint Lambert spent in a rehabilitation facility trying to kick his drug habit.
In the meantime, Amesbury police put up posters around the neighborhood, warning people of the thefts and urging them to lock their cars.
For months police were unable to connect Lambert to the break-ins but after the most recent stretch of incidents, patrol officers were able to obtain enough facts to whittle the number of suspects to a small handful. From there, detectives David Pare, Sean Leary, Raymond Landry and Matthew Cunningham were able to focus their attention on Lambert, according to Donovan.
“They were instrumental in pursuing all these leads,” Donovan said.
Police are encouraging anyone who believes they were victimized by Lambert’s crime wave to visit the School Street police station and look through the dozens of recovered items.
“These people might not be aware they’re victims,” Donovan said.