Boston Burglar Trapped

April 20, 2011
By Parker Scheer LLP on April 20, 2011 12:58 PM |

According to Boston Police a burglary suspect in Mattapan got stuck between the freezer and the floor boards at a Boston restaurant during an attempted break in. According to reports a female cook at the restaurant found the suspect around 7 a.m. when she showed up for work on Wednesday.

The restaurant in question is a Mattapan based Haitian restaurant named La Belle Capoise, located on Morton Street. The son of the restaurant's owner, Emmanuel Beliard, reported that the man apparently broke into the Morton Street restaurant through a basement window and then went up a circular set of wooden stairs leading to the first floor.

In the restaurant there is a bulkhead between the stairs and the first floor and it is covered by a freezer. After the burglar went up the first floor stairs he proceeded to push the door open and get stuck between the floor and basement stairs as the freezer fell back on him. Beliard reported that the would-be-burglar did not say what he was doing but only begged to be release. Boston police, fire emergency responders, and EMTs reported to the scene and freed the man. It was not determined if he will face criminal charges.

The full article is featured here .

Attorney Tofani, of counsel to Parker|Scheer, LLP and an associate of the firm's criminal practice group, reflects:

Although no specific criminal charges are mentioned in the article, an interesting issue and common misconception is presented regarding what constitutes a "breaking" for the purpose of establishing a burglary charge.

To establish a burglary charge, the Commonwealth must present evidence proving that the defendant committed a trespass by breaking and entering a structure, at night, with the intent to commit a felony therein; for example, the intent to commit larceny upon illegal entry into the structure.

The above-referenced misconception regarding the "breaking" element of a burglary charge is: that the Commonwealth must prove that the suspect literally destroyed the structural integrity of a window, door or other means of entry into the structure at issue. In fact, no literal breaking must occur to support a burglary charge. Instead, the Commonwealth must present evidence that the suspect moved to some material degree something that otherwise prevented entry into the structure.

The article alleges that the suspect entered the Morton Street Restaurant through a basement window. To support a burglary charge, the Commonwealth is not required to show that this window was locked, or even closed entirely. Instead, the Commonwealth must present evidence that, at the very least, the suspect moved the window enough so that he could enter the premises. Assuming, arguendo, that the window was completely open allowing the suspect to enter without moving anything, then no breaking occurred.

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