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Mass. men face charges after Salem vehicle break-ins

SALEM — Three Massachusetts men face multiple charges after police arrested them for breaking into several vehicles and making off with credit cards, GPS devices and checkbooks.

Shortly before 2:30 a.m. Saturday, Salem Police Officer Steve McPherson stopped a vehicle near the International House of Pancakes on Route 28.

McPherson, who said he initially stopped the car after noticing a number of vehicle infractions, became suspicious when the driver, Christopher Asselin, and his two passengers, Marc Berard, 24, and Donald Pappalardo, 52, all of Methuen, Mass., began "acting very nervous."

Noticing a checkbook on the rear floor of the vehicle, the police officer became increasingly suspicious when he realized the name on the checks didn't match the names of anyone in the vehicle.

Asselin reportedly told police it was his aunt's checkbook, but further inspection of the vehicle revealed numerous credit cards, all with different names, along with two GPS devices.

After contacting the residents whose names appeared on the checks and credit cards, police learned the items had been stolen.

"The owners were unaware until we called," Deputy Chief Shawn Patten said. "But when they checked their vehicles, they found they'd been ransacked and the above items were missing."

Patten said the three suspects then admitted they'd been breaking into cars in Salem.

Police arrested the three men at the scene.

Asselin was charged with two counts of theft, conspiracy to commit theft and loitering/prowling.

Berard was charged with receiving stolen property and conspiracy to commit theft.

Pappalardo was charged with conspiracy to commit theft, open container and receiving stolen property.

Any Salem residents who believe their vehicle may have been broken into last weekend are encouraged to contact McPherson at 893-1911.

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