BYFIELD – A Haverhill woman charged with breaking into at least two storage units in April pleaded guilty to larceny and breaking and entering charges Thursday in Newburyport District Court and was sentenced to nine months in jail.
Katie Regan, 32, of 57 Pear Tree Road, was initially sentenced to 2½ years in jail but saw all but nine months suspended for two years while she is on probation. She was given credit for 68 days served.
On May 3, she was arraigned on the following charges: breaking and entering of a building daytime for a felony (two counts), larceny over $1,200 and larceny under $250 from a person over 60 or disabled. Regan was ordered held on $1,500 cash bail at her arraignment and remained in custody throughout her case.
During her two years on probation, Regan must remain drug and alcohol free with random screens, stay away from her victims and their property, stay away from Byfield Store-U-Self on Kent Way, undergo a mental health evaluation, and write a letter of apology to one of her victims. She was also fined $90 and may be ordered to pay restitution, according to court records.
Among the items she stole were magazines and newspapers from the 1920s, heirloom Christmas ornaments, a table saw and lawn mower parts.
Police believe she was also responsible for similar storage unit breaks in Methuen and Hampstead, New Hampshire, according to a report.
According to a police report, Newbury police Officer Joseph Gamache was contacted by an employee of Byfield Store-U-Self after two renters reported someone had cut through their padlocks and stolen items.
The employee told Gamache he had video footage showing a BMW driving near the storage units at the time of the April 3 thefts. Gamache watched the video and saw Regan getting out of the BMW and breaking into the units after cutting the locks.
“Officer Gamache identified a total of six possible units that had missing locks replaced with new locks similar to the lock on (one of the victim’s) unit,” Newbury police Detective Sgt. Aaron Wojtkowski wrote in his report, adding that only two break-ins were confirmed.
Wojtkowski uploaded the video images to a law enforcement information-sharing network and within days received word from Methuen police that someone matching Regan’s description may have broken into a Pleasant Valley Street facility.
“The female suspect was operating what appeared to be the same BMW and the physical description appeared to match the Byfield incident. Methuen police were able to determine the license plate on the vehicle,” Wojtkowski wrote in his report.
Police tracked the license plate number to Regan’s boyfriend and quickly determined that she was the person in the videos.
During an interview, Regan denied the thefts, telling Wojtkowski she had rented units at the Byfield storage facility. Eventually, she admitted cutting the locks at the Byfield storage units and removing items from two units. However, she told Wojtkowski that a man she met at Walmart subleased the two units to her and she was merely cutting the old locks and replacing them with hers.
A few days later, Wojtkowski received word from Hampstead police that officers there arrested her for breaking into storage units. With this information, Wojtkowski obtained a warrant for Regan’s arrest.
Most of the items stolen from the Byfield units were never recovered, according to Wojtkowski’s report.
Staff writer Dave Rogers can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter:@drogers41008.