One day after the family of Eric MacLean announced they were filing a wrongful death suit against Robert Cimeno and Beach Road Moped Rentals in connection with the car crash in March that killed Mr. MacLean, state police armed with search warrants Saturday moved in on Mr. Cimeno's business and a Cimeno family residence in Oak Bluffs.
Revealing only scant details of the incident, State police Sgt. Neal Maciel refused to confirm yesterday that the Saturday morning raid had any connection to the MacLean case, but privately, police acknowledged that the search warrants were aimed at uncovering evidence regarding fake registration stickers.
In the fatal car crash, Mr. MacLean, 18, was a passenger in a 1979 Jeep which police later found had defective steering and a phony inspection sticker.
According to the wrongful death lawsuit set to be filed by the MacLean family, it was Mr. Cimeno who put the false sticker on the Jeep, just a few days after selling the vehicle to James O'Brien, whose son, Seamus, was driving the car when it crashed on County Road in Oak Bluffs.
A spokesperson for Mr. MacLean's family told the Gazette last week that the family holds Mr. Cimeno, the owner of Beach Road Moped Rentals in Tisbury, responsible for putting a phony inspection sticker on the Jeep last June after it failed an inspection at Buddy's Auto Repair in Oak Bluffs.
Mr. Cimeno has denied any role in placing a fraudulent inspection sticker on the Jeep and has denied any responsibility for Mr. MacLean's death. His denials appeared in police documents obtained by the Gazette and were also communicated by his attorney last week.
According to a Tisbury police report, the search at the Beach Road business took two hours to complete. Oak Bluffs police would not release any information about a search that took place at a Cimeno residence in the Iron Hill development, and Sergeant Maciel would not say what items were seized in either search.
Police acknowledged last week they are trying to find out how the Jeep ended up with an apparently valid inspection sticker even though it was rejected for having no emergency brake and faulty steering.
"The police have an active, ongoing criminal investigation as it relates to the sticker, specifically with the Cimeno operation," said Oak Bluffs police chief Joseph Carter.
While not part of the specific investigation into registration stickers, the search in Tisbury did yield one arrest. Bryan Cimeno, 32, was arrested for possession of a small amount of marijuana, according to Tisbury police chief John McCarthy.