Cell phone helps lead to alleged charity box thief

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NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — Police in New Bedford say they were able to find a suspect in a larceny early Monday thanks to a cell phone dropped and left behind.

The clerk at the Sam’s Mobil gas station at 367 Ashley Boulevard called police about 4:45 a.m. He said a man had come in and stolen a charity money collection box on the counter, then run off. The clerk chased after him until he lost sight of him. During the pursuit, the suspect had dropped a cell phone. The clerk turned it over to the officer.

While the officer was at the store investigating, the cell phone rang; he answered it. A woman’s voice claimed she had lost the phone, and her boyfriend had had it at the time.

The officer, playing the role of a good Samaritan, offered to return the phone. Minutes later, he saw a man answering the suspect’s description walking elsewhere in the neighborhood; when he approached the man, the man put up a struggle and tried to run away, but the officer managed to take him into custody.

Patrick Maccini, 26, was identified by the clerk from the store, police said; he is charged with larceny from a person and resisting arrest. He was scheduled to be arraigned on the charges Monday morning at New Bedford District Court.

The charity box was not recovered.

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