NEWBURYPORT – The person behind a late November car break on Woodland Street near the Merrimack River avoided jail time Thursday after admitting to a Newburyport District Court judge he could be found guilty of that crime and others if the case went to trial.
After breaking into a Jeep Wrangler parked on the street, Alexander Baptiste, 24, of Westwood Road, Salem, N.H., stole a bank check and then forged a check for $750, according to Newburyport police.
Baptiste was charged in December with forgery of a check, uttering a false check and two counts of breaking and entering nighttime for a felony. All four charges were continued without a finding for a year and Baptiste was ordered to pay a to-be-determined amount of restitution to his victim. He must also stay away and have no contact with his victim and comply with a treatment program.
Court records show that days after the car break, he had been charged with drunken driving by Merrimac police.
During the same court appearance Thursday, Baptiste saw the drunken driving charge continued without a finding for a year. In addition to losing his driver’s license for 45 days, Baptiste must pay $600 in fees and fines and complete an alcohol safety awareness program.
The victim did not know the Jeep Wrangler had been broken into until days later when he noticed an unauthorized withdrawal from his bank account. The victim talked to his wife, who had left her checkbook in the Jeep, and learned she had not written any checks to anyone named “Alex,” according to Newburyport police Inspector Dani Sinclair’s report.
Days earlier, the victim noticed an item sitting outside his Jeep and saw that the glove compartment was open. He searched the Jeep and did not notice anything missing.
Police were able to track down Baptiste by reviewing video footage of him depositing the check at his Wakefield bank. That transaction was noticed by the victim who informed police. Upon learning Merrimac police had arrested a person by the same name for drunken driving, Sinclair checked the booking photo. The booking photo matched the person in the video, according to Sinclair.
When Sinclair interviewed Baptiste, he gave confusing and conflicting answers, sometimes stopping just short of admitting to breaking into the Jeep, according to her report.
Dave Rogers is a staff writer with The Daily News. Email him at: email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008.