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Mass. teacher charged with using toddler to steal items from mall game

New Hampshire Union Leader

September 20. 2018 1:48PM
Massachusetts middle school teacher Anthony Helinski has been identified from this video as the man who used a toddler to steal items from a KeyMaster game at the Mall at Rockingham Park in Salem last weekend. (COURTESY OF SALEM POLICE)

Andrew Helinski

SALEM — Police arrested a Massachusetts middle school teacher Wednesday on multiple charges, including theft and child endangerment, after he was identified as the man caught on video deploying a little girl to steal items from a game of chance in the Mall at Rockingham Park last weekend.

Police say Anthony Helinski, 34, of Lawrence, Mass., surrendered himself, accompanied by his lawyer, after a warrant was issued for his arrest Wednesday.

After the video was posted on social media and went viral last Friday, police said they received numerous tips identifying Helinski.

The cell phone footage shows a man using a toddler to steal items from a KeyMaster game at the Mall at Rockingham Park.

The man helps the girl climb into the bottom portion of the game, where items won by a player drop down. She then reaches up to grab various items, handing them to him.

Another child, who appears to be between 5 and 7, can also be seen with the man.

After getting the little girl out of the game, police said witnesses told them the man left the mall with the children and the stolen items.

Helinski is a teacher at Doherty Middle School in Andover, Mass., school officials confirmed Wednesday.

“One of our teachers at the Doherty Middle School was involved in an incident in Salem, N.H. last week,” said Andover Superintendent of Schools Shelly Berman in a statement. “Andover Public Schools is fully cooperating with authorities. The teacher has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation.”

Helinski was charged with three counts of theft by unauthorized taking, two counts of criminal trespass, and one count of endangering the welfare of a child. He was released on personal recognizance bail, and is due back in court Oct. 29 in the 10th Circuit Court District Division–Salem for arraignment.

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