Two men, one with a long history of violent crime, were arraigned in Edgartown district court yesterday on multiple charges of larceny, destruction of property and felony breaking and entering, following a slew of Island break-ins over the past few weeks, including as many as eight in one day.
Brian D. Gromoshak, 29, of Oak Bluffs, and Henry T. Parent, 17, of Edgartown, were arraigned in district court yesterday where the court automatically entered pleas of not guilty. Mr. Gromoshak was arraigned on charges that stem from a pair break-ins at two Edgartown homes, one on School House Road and the other on Gert’s Way.
Mr. Gromoshak was subsequently arraigned on two sets of charges. In total he was charged with two counts of felony breaking and entering during the daytime, two counts of larceny from a building, one count of malicious destruction of property over $250, and one count of larceny over $250.
Mr. Parent was arraigned on a single charge of breaking and entering during the daytime, one charge of larceny from a building, and one charge of larceny over $250.
Cape and Islands assistant district attorney Laura Marshard explained to the Hon. Lance J. Garth that Mr. Gromoshak had an extensive criminal record in Florida, including multiple charges of assault and battery, burglary and disturbing the public peace.
Ms. Marshard said Mr. Gromoshak had been scheduled to appear in court that day to face a charge of annoying a person of the opposite sex, although the case was continued because the victim needed to undergo unexpected surgery. Mr. Marshard argued that Mr. Gromoshak’s bail should be set at $10,000 considering his criminal background.
Defense attorney Charles Morano argued for lower bail, noting that Mr. Gromoshak has lived on the Island for two years and currently lives with his girlfriend and their two children. “He is employed as a subcontractor and is supporting three children . . . he could not make more than $1,000 bail,” Mr. Morano said.
In the end Judge Garth set bail at $6,000 for the first set of charges and $2,000 for the second set of charges.
Ms. Marshard said the other defendant, Mr. Parent, has no criminal record, has strong ties to the community and lives with his family. Ms. Marshard said the commonwealth was not asking for bail for Mr. Parent, and he was later released on his own recognizance.
After the hearing, Edgartown police sergeant Kenneth Johnson said the investigation into Mr. Gromoshak and Mr. Parent is ongoing, and additional charges against the defendants were possible. He also said police are searching for a third suspect, an unidentified 19-year-old male.
Sgt. Johnson said police are investigating a large number of break-ins over the past two weeks, including “seven or eight” that may have occurred last Thursday alone.
The first of the break-ins was reported on Feb. 25 when a man living at 119 South Water street in Edgartown reported his basement door had been kicked in. That same day police responded to a call on Pease’s Point Way when a caretaker returned to find a broken window and the front door smashed in.
Sgt. Johnson said police are investigating an unusually high number of break-ins that likely occurred last Thursday in Edgartown. The first to be reported was on School House Road where the intruders allegedly entered through an unlocked door and ransacked the entire home. They also stole $400 in cash, an X-Box game system, and several pieces of jewelry.
Police also responded to a report on Norcross Drive, where the occupant came home to find a broken window and obvious signs of a disturbance. Police were also called to an apartment on Upper Main street above the Wheel Happy bike shop, where somebody had kicked in a door and ransacked the place.
There also were reports of a break-in on Meetinghouse Way and another on School House Lane.
Police were also busy last Friday, when they responded to a reported break-in on Gert’s Way in which someone smashed in the front door and ransacked the house. That same night police responded to an audible burglar alarm on Main street, where officers found footprints leading up to the front door.
Sgt. Johnson said police responded to a break-in on School House Road yesterday, where the intruders stole cash and video games and also smashed the screen of a 42-inch television set.
Sgt. Johnson said police are investigating whether all these incidents are related. He said they also are checking whether additional items were stolen; all the victims are still doing an inventory of their belongings and will report if anything else is missing.
The sergeant said the intruders showed little respect for people’s property, in one case going so far as to smash open a piggy bank belonging to an eight-year-old girl.
Both Mr. Gromoshak and Mr. Parent are due back in court Thursday, March 19. As of yesterday afternoon, Mr. Gromoshak was still being held in the Dukes County House of Corrections.