UMass Crime Log: Feb. 8-10
Friday, Feb. 8
At 8:28 a.m., a University of Massachusetts police officer received a report of a larceny in progress in Herter Hall, resulting in the arrest of 26-year-old Sean C. Miner, a homeless man who identifies his home as the streets of Amherst.
The caller, who was also the victim of the crime, gave the UMPD a description of a white male with a brown beard in his 30s, wearing a brown coat, blue jeans and a brown pull-over hat, last seen running in the direction of the W.E.B. Du Bois Library.
The alleged suspect went into the victim’s office in broad daylight while she was at her desk and grabbed her book bag, which contained a number of personal items, such as her cell phone, laptop, wallet, passport and various other items, according to the victim.
She reportedly attempted to stop him, but he escaped down a stairwell and fled out the main entrance on the west side of the building.
On his way down the stairs, he dropped the book bag, but removed the laptop before continuing his escape.
UMPD Deputy Chief Patrick Archbald said that the suspect may have done this because, “being in possession of the bag would be (an easy) way of being identified.”
He also said this is the type of crime that is almost never committed by a UMass student.
“Our students do not enter into rooms in broad daylight and grab bags and laptops,” he said. “This is 99.999 percent of the time someone from off campus.”
From the description given, UMPD was able to use footage from surveillance cameras as a tactic of identifying the suspect.
They then worked with the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority hoping to find the alleged suspect.
“Often times (the people who commit these crimes in broad daylight) don’t have transportation,” Archbald said. “They’re homeless, so public transportation is their mode of transportation.”
Some of the PVTA employees were familiar with the description given and Miner was eventually positively identified on a bus headed toward Hampshire College.
He was shortly thereafter arrested on charges of breaking and entering a building during the daytime for a felony, larceny of items over $250, larceny of items under $250 and disorderly conduct.
At about 9:33 a.m., a UMPD officer was dispatched to the Du Bois Library on a report of a disorderly person.
The officer was met by an employee of the Procrastination Station cafe located on the library’s ground floor, who reported that an elderly man had poured himself a cup of coffee before walking away without paying.
She said that when she confronted the man, he became “defensive, confrontational and belligerent,” according to the report.
The man, who is a UMass student, has been dealt with on several occasions at the library, and said that he always audiotapes and videotapes the police when they interact with him, according to Archbald.
Three other officers arrived on the scene and identified the alleged suspect. He reportedly “continued to behave in a confrontational manner” with the officers as they attempted to determine what exactly had happened.
The man no longer had the coffee that he allegedly stole and claimed since he didn’t have the coffee at the moment, he didn’t steal anything.
The officers asked him to step out of the building, which he initially refused to do, but soon-after complied.
Saturday, Feb. 9
At around 2 a.m., 21-year-old biology major Amanda Lynn Bertino, of Natick, was arrested on charges of domestic assault and battery and malicious destruction of property, after officers were dispatched to Field Hall for an ongoing disturbance.
A male caller had reported that his intoxicated girlfriend, later identified as Bertino, was attempting to forcibly enter his room on the fourth floor.
When officers arrived, they found him on the fifth floor with a residential adviser. According to the report, he had a “small fresh cut” on his left cheek, which he said was the result of his girlfriend striking him with her hand.
Following the call to the police, Bertino entered the room, before she and the victim had an argument over images on his cell phone. Bertino reportedly was upset because her boyfriend was looking at pictures of “old friends from home.”
The argument turned physical, and in the scuffle, Bertino allegedly grabbed the victim’s iPhone and threw it at a wall, shattering it.
The officers found Bertino on the third floor of Field, and she admitted to being involved in a physical altercation, as well as her throwing of the phone, which was valued at $400. She was then placed under arrest and transported back to the UMPD station.
Sunday Feb. 10
At 5:54 p.m. a detective reported to the fourth floor of Pierpont Hall for a reported domestic assault and battery, resulting in the arrest of 18-year-old UMass student Alexander J. Hoopes, of Haverhill.
When police arrived, the caller, who was also the alleged victim, was visibly upset. She reported that she had been in a fight with her ex-boyfriend, with whom she had been in an “on again, off again relationship” for two to three years. At the time of the detective’s arrival, the alleged suspect was not present, and the victim estimated that he had left 10 minutes earlier and believed that he had returned to his dorm in another building on campus.
According to the report, the altercation began in the victim’s room when Hoopes allegedly took her phone and began reading text messages without her permission. They began to struggle over possession of the phone and Hoopes reportedly used his body to pin her to the bed. She then was able to get to her feet, but he reportedly pushed her back onto the bed and held her down.
It was then reported that he punched her three times in her right upper-thigh region, before he pushed her to the ground, causing minor injuries to her right knee, which were visible at the time of her talking to the detective.
In the police report, it was stated that the victim claimed the altercation did not stop there. She said that Hoopes then grabbed her shoulders and shook her. She then grabbed his backpack, which he grabbed as well, and then he reportedly walked to the door with her dragging behind him as she held onto the bag, before she finally let go as he exited the room.
After hearing the victim’s report, Hoopes was contacted and arrested shortly thereafter.
Archbald noted the similarities between Saturday’s and Sunday’s cell phone-related arrests, and believes that these types of arrests will only become more common in the future.
“Information travels in a much different way today than it used to, and the evidence is in the phone, so I think we’re going to see more and more of these domestics,” he said. “A lot of communication happens by phone, by text and Facebook, and your evidence is right there to be seen.”
Taylor C. Snow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.