BURRILLVILLE – A Woonsocket man was arrested this week after allegedly stealing four snowblowers, a generator, two lawn mowers and a power washer from a Broncos Highway equipment business during stops to the closed store on three separate occasions.
Russell Berard, 51, of John Street Woonsocket was arrested by Burrillville Police, working in conjunction with Woonsocket Police and Rhode Island State Police, and charged with felony larceny of more than $1,500 following burglaries at Norfolk Power Equipment.
According to reports, video surveillance showed an older model red Ford F150 with a grey stripe, registered to Berard, first visiting the business on December 31 around 8:30 p.m.
The driver, who was wearing a hooded sweatshirt with the hood pulled over his head, parks the vehicle at neighboring Alashan Cashmere, and enters a gated area, appearing to “shop around,” before selecting two boxed snowblowers, taking one out and fully assembling it. According to reports, the suspect, who also took parts from a third snow blower, appears aware of the location of the businesses’ security cameras.
The same vehicle reportedly returned to the business in February, this time parking at the Cox Communications substation and walking through the woods to Alashan. The suspect throws snowballs at the Alashan security cameras, eventually making off with a snowblower and a generator from Norfolk.
During investigations, police noted that a man driving the same vehicle had been arrested in 2018 for larceny from construction vehicles.
The owner of Alashan informed police he had surveillance of a vehicle that appeared to be scouting the lot prior to the second robbery. In it, police again saw the older model Ford.
That truck again returned to Norfolk on April 28 around 2 a.m., this time driving off with two lawn mowers, a snow blower and a power washer.
BPD worked with Woonsocket police to match the plates of the vehicle and locate the suspect. An arrest warrant issued, and Berard was picked up from his home in Woonsocket on May 13.
He was transported to 6th District Court that morning, where he was arraigned on the charge.