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Burglars take $210K in cash from safe in Salem home

Union Leader Correspondent

April 17. 2014 10:35PM

Shawn Russell, 30, of Methuen, Mass., at left, was arrested on Thursday. Police obtained an arrest warrant for Michael Meucci, 31, of Salem. (COURTESY)

SALEM — Police arrested a 30-year-old Methuen, Mass., man who they said was part of a burglary crew being sought for stealing about $210,000 in cash from a safe inside a Main Street home.

Shawn Russell, 30, was taken into custody at a Market Basket parking lot on Thursday in Methuen, Mass., leading police to recover $40,000 in cash and 42 grams of heroin, police said.

Hours earlier, police said they had seized evidence linked to the burglary at Russell’s prior address. The evidence included two-way radios, ski masks, knives, zip ties, airsoft pistols and gloves, police said.

Police said that the heroin may have been bought with some of the stolen money.

Officers were called to a burglary in progress at 24 Main St. on Monday shortly before 6 p.m. Witnesses told police that three people were seen committing the burglary and leaving the house in a dark-colored Kia. Another witness said the KIA crashed into a parked vehicle in an adjacent driveway to the Main Street home and sped away just before police arrived.

The three men had also seen the day before the break-in loitering near the Main Street home, witnesses told police.

The investigation is now focused on apprehending one of Russell’s alleged partners in the break-in and identifying who else participated in the heist.

Police obtained an arrest warrant for Michael Meucci, 31, of Salem, on charges that he took part in the burglary.

“We believe others may have been involved in the planning,” Deputy Police Chief Shawn Patten said. “It could be up to four people.”

Meucci is considered armed and dangerous, police said. Police learned that Meucci recently made threats that he will not go back to jail and will shoot it out with police if necessary.

“We want to get the word out to people about him,” Patten said.

Detectives went to a prior address for Russell in Methuen, Mass. Russell was not there, but police said they found the blue Kia used in the burglary parked behind the home, and the safe, which had been forced open and looted, according to police.

Police executed a search warrant for the Kia and recovered ski masks, two-way radios and other items believed to have been used in the break-in, police said.

Detectives were able to track down Russell on Thursday by following a person believed to be an associate as he drove to the Market Basket parking lot on Haverhill Street in Methuen, Mass.

The detectives noticed Russell driving a silver Honda into the lot, and they boxed in his car. He was arrested after a brief struggle.

Patten said he could not speculate about why the homeowner had a large amount of cash at his home.

“It’s a bit out of the ordinary for someone to have that amount of cash in a house,” Patten said. “But we do believe that amount is accurate.”

Russell is being held in a Massachusetts jail and faces charges of burglary, theft by unauthorized taking and conduct after an accident.

Meucci, who remains at large, faces the same charges.

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