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|November 19, 2008
Director of Communications
ELDERLY WOMAN RECEIVES OVERDUE RESTITUTION WHEN
GLOUCESTER PROBATION TRACKS HER DOWN IN FLORIDA
An elderly woman received restitution owed to her thanks to the efforts of a Gloucester District Court Assistant Chief Probation Officer, the court’s Probation Office Manager, and information the Assistant Chief obtained from a database he first learned about at a recent Probation training.
Assistant Chief Probation Officer Arthur Robbins was one of 19 assistant Chief Probation Officers who attended a training session taught by Joseph Holmes, Probation’s CARI (Criminal Activity Record Information) Manager, at the Massachusetts Probation Service Training Academy in Clinton. Among the resources Holmes shared during the session was information about LPPolice.com, a subscription-only website which features an individual’s name, addresses he or she is associated with, as well as the names of their family members. Motor vehicle information such as the year, make, and model of a car and property records are also listed in this database.
According to Holmes, the LPPolice database is available to Identity Specialists, Massachusetts Probation employees assigned to verify the identity and home addresses of probationers and those who come before the court. He cautions, however, that no system is “foolproof” and that additional research is always useful in properly identifying an individual.
“It is about making the best judgment with the information that is available,” said Holmes.
When Robbins returned to the court after Holmes’ presentation, he immediately approached Probation Office Manager Joanne Curcuru, who told him about the case of an 82-year-old robbery victim, a Gloucester native who now resides with her son in Florida.
“We really had exhausted all avenues. After the presentation, I called the office to find out if we have this program, this database. As soon as I got back from the training, we got it set up,” said Robbins. “The system helped us track down the granddaughter who told us that her grandmother had moved to Florida. The LPPolice happened to provide us with the right tools.”
The senior citizen was robbed by a man, an acquaintance of the granddaughter, who stole money from the woman’s purse and other items, which amounted to $6,800, during a visit to the elderly woman’s home four years ago.
Robbins and Curcuru first located the woman’s granddaughter using the LPPolice. The granddaughter put Gloucester Probation in touch with her family in Florida who are now her grandmother’s caregivers.
Richard MacNeil, the woman’s son, said by phone from Florida that he never thought that his mother, whom he says suffers with dementia, would ever receive “a dime of the money.”
“When the case first went to court, we really did not expect anything,” McNeill said. “When the Probation Department contacted us recently, we were quite surprised because we had written the thing off. We were delighted to receive the money.”
His mother received a $1,225 check, towards the $6,800 balance she is owed, in the mail from the court. A surrender hearing for the offender has been scheduled for next week.
Curcuru said the database will help her find those victims she has been unable to locate to give them money that is owed to them by probationers.