New York trio nabbed in Nashua fraud-theft ring
NASHUA – The decision by a Nashua resident to call police after two strangers came to her door to try and take possession of several packages she’d just received triggered a police invesitgation that led to the arrests late last week of three New York residents.
Detectives would learn from their investigation that the residence was one of more than a dozen Nashua addresses to which the trio allegedly shipped packages via UPS containing various electronic devices – which, according to police, they purchased earlier through some 20 fradulent accounts they allegedly created for the nationwide electronics retailer Sprint.
The investigation into the scam, which police described as “an organized theft and fraud ring,” came to a head the afternoon of Jan. 24, when police units surrounded the suspects’ vehicle in the city’s French Hill section and took them into custody.
Arrested were Everton Ellis, 40, of 1031 Miles Square Road, Yonkers, New York; and New York City residents Jeffrey Martin, 48, of 17 Hartin Ave., and Armelle Chester, 25, of 1200 E. 95th St., Apt. 2.
Each was charged with one count of receiving stolen property, a Class A felony.
Martin was additionally charged with one count each of resisting arrest or detention and possession of false identification, both Class A misdemeanors, police said.
They subsequently entered not guilty pleas and waived formal arraignment. Ellis was held on $200,000 cash only bail, while Martin’s bail was set at $25,000 cash only and Chester’s at $25,000 cash or surety.
Hillsborough County Superior Court South Judge Charles Temple, who arraigned the trio, scheduled dispositional conferences for each of them on March 15 in the Nashua court.
The homeowner who first called police on Jan. 19 was able to provide a photo of the male suspect to police, as well as give them a description of their vehicle.
She said the two people came to her door about 30 minutes after the packages arrived. When they “attempted to obtain the packages,” police said, the woman “refused, and called police.”
Three days later, police said, they received a very similar report from a Crown Hill area resident, who also refused to give the man and woman the packages.
The resident told police the couple’s car had a Virginia license plate, and after they left, she opened the packages and found “multiple Sprint phones and iPads,” police said.
Detectives then contacted UPS security officials, who found that some 21 packages from Sprint were scheduled to be delivered to various addresses in Nashua.
Security officials gave police some of those addresses, and upon noticing several of them were in the same condo complex, police decided to conduct surveillance around the time the packages were scheduled to arrive.
Shortly after 4 p.m. Jan. 24, an officer saw a car with Virginia license plates enter the complex, police said. He watched the car pull up to a residence, where a woman and a man got out, the reports state.
The man allegedly retrieved packages from one residence, while the female allegedly picked packages up from the residence next door, police said.
The officer radioed to patrol units as the car left the complex, and the units pulled the car over moments later. Martin allegedly tried to flee on foot, leading to the resisting arrest or detention charge.
In post-arrest interviews at police headquarters, the suspects told police they arrived in town Jan. 21 and were staying at a local hotel.
In a search of their hotel room, police said they recovered “additonal phones and iPads,” along with several fake IDs and documents.
They said Sprint estimated the value of the allegedly stolen property at about $40,000.
Police added that the investigation is continuing, and that “additional charges are expected on all three defendants.”
Police ask that anyone with any additional information on the case contact police at 603-594-3500 and ask to speak with a member of the department’s Problem Oriented Policing Unit.
They also urge residents to contact police if they see any suspicious people or activity around their house or in their neighborhood.