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In Pelham, residents lend a hand to police

PELHAM — Residents on the lookout for crime have helped the police make several arrests over the past month, including three people who were involved in an alleged drug deal in the Hannaford parking lot on Bridge Street on Monday.

The police department has been investigating numerous motor vehicle break-ins and drug activity in the community, according to Lt. Brian McCarthy. Over the past two months, he said several cars have been broken into in the Hillcrest Lane area, Hannaford parking lot, and at Veterans Memorial Park on Mammoth Road.

"Citizens have been assisting police by calling in complaints of suspicious persons and suspicious activities in their neighborhoods," said McCarthy. In response to the calls, detectives and patrol divisions have been adding patrols in those areas with both marked and unmarked vehicles.

Those increased patrols and attention paid dividends on Monday, as police had the Hannaford parking lot under surveillance with plainclothes officers and undercover vehicles. According to McCarthy, officers watched a hand-to-hand drug deal involving three people, allowing them to stop them and arrest them on drug charges.

Michael Flynn, 40, of Lowell, Mass., was charged with possession of drugs and possession of drugs in a motor vehicle (marijuana); Andrew Riberal, 24, of Hudson was charged with drugs in a motor vehicle (marijuana) and criminal liability for the conduct of another; and Jonathan Vance, 21, of Dracut, Mass., was charged with sale of drugs (marijuana).

All three were later released on bail and given a court date of Monday, Sept. 9, at Salem District Court.

For Riberal, it was his second run-in with the Pelham police in less than a week. On Aug. 21, officers conducting surveillance near Grandview Road stopped Riberal after they saw him acting suspiciously, according to McCarthy. Police found drugs on him and arrested him.

Police are continuing to keep up the extra patrols and are asking residents to continue alerting them of any suspicious activity around town or in their neighborhoods.

"Last week, several used hypodermic needles were found by citizens in the area of Hillcrest Lane," said McCarthy. "Citizens have also called in their concerns about high drug activity in the South Shore Road area and the Benoit Avenue area."

McCarthy said officers and detectives will continue to patrol these areas, and urges citizens not to touch needles of any kind and to immediately contact police if they discover any. He said police are hopeful that continued communication and cooperation with the community will help them make more arrests and lead to the reduction of crime in the community.


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